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Censorship Facebook Your Rights Online

Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the bot-breaker dept.
mi writes "Ukrainian media is reporting (link in Ukrainian), that Facebook is getting increasingly heavy-handed blocking Ukrainian bloggers. The likely explanation for the observed phenomenon is that Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia and is headed by a Russian citizen (Catherine Skorobogatov). For example, a post calling on Russian mothers to not let their sons go to war was blocked "Due to multiple complaints". Fed up, Ukrainian users are writing directly to Zukerberg to ask him to replace Catherine with someone, who would not be quite as swayed by the "complaints" generated by Russian bots.
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Ukraine Asks Zuckerberg to Discipline Kremlin Facebook Bots

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday August 31, 2014 @02:12PM (#47795977)

    Ah yes, only the most reliable sources at Slashdot...

    But anyway, the more likely explanation is that like many social media platforms, Facebook uses automated systems to deal with thousands and thousands of content complaints every day. Usually, after a certain number of complaints, the system automatically blocks the content, and the original poster has to challenge the block. Keep in mind that due to the volume of content complaints that these types of services get, humans rarely get involved in the beginning, it is simply all automated.

    It's possible and even probable that the complaints themselves are âoeorchestratedâ by people with political aims, perhaps even government employees. But that doesn't mean that Facebook is somehow âoecooperatingâ with the Russians because the head of their Russian office is, well, Russian.

    • by Zocalo (252965) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @02:42PM (#47796087) Homepage
      Reading between the lines of the article I think you probably got the gist of what happens, but missed the crux of the complaint. I get the impression that Ukrainians believe something like this is happening:
      1. 1. Pro-Ukraine poster makes a post.
      2. 2. Pro-Russian bots generate complaints into Facebook's automated systems.
      3. 3. The post gets automatically blocked.
      4. 4. OP appeals to the Ukrainian office to get it re-instated.
      5. 5. OP's appeal is denied because the Ukrainian office is actually in Russia and headed by an alledgedly non-neutral Russian.

      There's definitely a potential problem there, and one that will probably be repeated in similar circumstances in the future. Seems to me that the best thing FB (or anyone else) can do in this situation is to remove oversight for posts made by both sides from regional offices in the area in question and hand them off to more neutral offices, at least for posts concerning the conflict.

    • by quantaman (517394)

      Ah yes, only the most reliable sources at Slashdot...

      But anyway, the more likely explanation is that like many social media platforms, Facebook uses automated systems to deal with thousands and thousands of content complaints every day. Usually, after a certain number of complaints, the system automatically blocks the content, and the original poster has to challenge the block. Keep in mind that due to the volume of content complaints that these types of services get, humans rarely get involved in the beginning, it is simply all automated.

      It's possible and even probable that the complaints themselves are âoeorchestratedâ by people with political aims, perhaps even government employees. But that doesn't mean that Facebook is somehow âoecooperatingâ with the Russians because the head of their Russian office is, well, Russian.

      Do you think the censorship effort would be as successful if it were being directed against pro-rebel content?

      If not, then there is a legitimate complaint to be made about the partiality of the Russian office.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Usually, after a certain number of complaints, the system automatically blocks the content, and the original poster has to challenge the block.

      Many Facebook users have noted, as I did when I was using it, that political content would often fail to post without explanation. Not only would the URLs fail to thumbnail and link, but I'd actually go back and read my posts and URLs had actually been stripped off of the political content, while the test bullshit I added in to prove the point was still there.

  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @02:34PM (#47796059)

    Are you using Facebook... Stop using it and take the power from that twit.

  • Wait.... what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @02:50PM (#47796111)

    ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

    Whose brilliant idea was that?

    • Re:Wait.... what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @02:53PM (#47796129)

      Probably FB's.

      Where's the problem? I mean, for FB. Why should FB care whether Ukraine or Russia is winning the media war? As long as people follow it on FB, FB is winning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quantaman (517394)

        Probably FB's.

        Where's the problem? I mean, for FB. Why should FB care whether Ukraine or Russia is winning the media war? As long as people follow it on FB, FB is winning.

        In the short term maybe, but bad PR matters.

        If people start associating FB with pro-Russian censorship people will think less positively of FB. Even without any kind of boycott they'll enjoy their time on FB less due to the negative association, as a result they'll use it less and potentially even open the door for a competitor a little bit more.

        It's probably not a big deal as far as FB is concerned, but it's certainly not something in their favour.

        • I think you give the average FB user far too much credit. It's going to be as usual. Everyone will complain just what kind of un-American asshole or whatever other negative attribute can be mustered FB in general and Zuckerberg in particular is, and the indignation will last exactly until whatever browser game is currently all the craze on FB and their plants need watering, their zombies need feeding or their castles need building.

          Face it. People don't give a shit as long as it doesn't cut into their entert

      • Re:Wait.... what? (Score:5, Informative)

        by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @06:14PM (#47796945)

        ...Why should FB care whether Ukraine or Russia is winning the media war?...

        I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Russia and Ukraine are engaged in a little bit more than a media war.

        .
        Last I checked, Russia was invading eastern Ukraine.

        I suspect that may bode poorly for a FB office in Russia to properly handle Ukrainian Facebook business.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463)

      ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

      Whose brilliant idea was that?

      Lots of sensible decisions look dumb in hindsight. Until a few months ago, Ukraine and Russia were on fairly good terms. Russia is Ukraine's biggest trading partner. Nearly half of Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language. So, since FB already had an office in Russia, it made sense to let that office handle Ukraine as well. Even if there was a separate office in Ukraine, the situation would not be much different. If the office was located in Donetsk or Luhansk, it would still be pro-Russian.

    • by Zocalo (252965)
      Hmm, the plot thickens. I suspected it might just be a regional office based in Russia covering a large area of Eastern Europe that happens to include both Russia and The Ukraine that just happens to be located in Russia, which would have been a fairly sensible choice given that it has a both a larger on-line population and better technology infrastructure. That however does not appear to be the case at all. A quick search on Google shows that FB has been looking into opening a Russian office since early
    • by Archtech (159117)

      ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

      Whose brilliant idea was that?

      I imagine Facebook management, on the grounds that their people would be much less likely to be killed. Ukraine is a very dangerous place at the moment - cities are being bombarded by heavy artillery and fired on with medium rockets, people whose faces don't fit are being burned alive.

      • ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

        Whose brilliant idea was that?

        I imagine Facebook management, on the grounds that their people would be much less likely to be killed. Ukraine is a very dangerous place at the moment - cities are being bombarded by heavy artillery and fired on with medium rockets, people whose faces don't fit are being burned alive.

        Facebook decided several years ago that Ukraine would be a dangerous place in late 2014, so they avoided putting offices in Ukraine?

        Wow, I wo

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

      Whose brilliant idea was that?

      Depends, was the office located in Crimea?

    • ...Facebook's Ukrainian office is located in Russia...

      Whose brilliant idea was that?

      Is it actually a 'Ukrainian' office of FB or is it just that the regional office for FB happens to be in Russia and that Ukraine is inside that region?

  • Zuk Don't Care (Score:2, Insightful)

    by felrom (2923513)

    Funny that the Ukrainians think Zuckerberg cares. He's the worst kind of anti-freedom, in-bed-with-the-government, limousine socialist there is. Mr. Open-All-The-Borders hides behind his armed guards at his gated mansion so he wont have to be burdened with the consequences of his actions. Appealing to Zuckerberg to stop blocking their social media efforts is going to have about as much effect as appealing directly to Putin to stop invading.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @04:48PM (#47796617)

    Seriously, setting up a social networking site is technically very simple. We have thousands of them. Why are the Ukrainians using an American system that has been compromised by crippling political correctness, is administered by Russians... aka the enemy, and all the other crap you could possibly windge on about facebook.

    Why use it? Just set up your own social network, get people to join, and let the kids send profane selfies at each other.

    Problem solved.

    Happily ever after.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @05:36PM (#47796825)

      The freedom to speak is worthless if there is nobody to listen to you. In other words, nobody hears you scream on the internet, unless you're screaming where everyone is listening.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Because that's where everyone they want to listen to their plight - i.e. Westerners can be found.

      Ukrainians want their voice to be heard by the rest of the world, and the rest of the world is on Facebook.

      It's not just about being heard by each other.

  • Either host yourself or use wordpress.com or whatever blog-site there is.
    Seriously, who cares about Facebook postings anyway? Are these people a bunch of 12 year olds?
    I don't need a FB account to know that I probably can't differentiate between official propaganda, astroturfers, shills and real eye-witness reports - on both sides.

    Maybe Ukraine should buy more ads on FB - that usually helps...

  • ... watching American lefties' discomfort in all this. Especially older American lefties.

    "Can't ever say that Russia is the bad guy, but Russia clearly is the bad guy all too obviously ... head must explode now like a 1960's sci-fi robot caught in a contradiction ..."

  • But at the same time it is interesting how many shills leap out of the woodwork in any news article which is critical of Russia or Israel. Clearly these countries have teams of people who make concerted efforts to drown out, berate, brow beat or otherwise pooh pooh any story no matter how credible it is.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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