Right-wing Trolls and Algorithms

Or: how a combination of a right-wing attack and facebook algorithms-going-horribly-wrong killed an important fact-checking blog (no, not this one). And, because of a mistake of facebook, my personal account as a side-effect.

Random Troll

Short version: End of June I logged into facebook, and received dozens of notifications. I supposedly posted a post containing hate speech on a page. Though I formally co-manage this page, I never contribute to it, and am only “emergency-admin”. So this was quite a nasty surprise.

The page represents a fact-checking blog, which actually researches intolerant statements and hatespeech made in (social) media and tries to counter them with facts and statistics. Both blog and page were targeted by right-wing trolls in the past, until now unsuccessful. The reports from last wednesday however resulted in a permanent ban of both the page and my personal account.

My account got disabled because facebooks algorithms wrongly contribute the reported post to my account. Algorithm Epic Fail no.1: disable the wrong account: I never posted anything on that page.
The content of the post actually is against hatespeech. The video posted, is made by german public television and still available all over facebook (see longer version below for details). Algorithm Epic Fail no. 2: not seeing the actual content of the post, but “deciding” on some key words (heck, it’s an algorithm..)

After several appeals to the facebook support, I got the message my account (and probably also the page) will be permanently disabled , and no matter what information I provide, it will never ever be reactivated. After another round of appeals, I am now “ineligible” to use facebook…

In short: an attack by right-wing trolls reporting an innocent video resulted in a permanent ban of a popular and effective fact-checking blog (and my personal account). Because facebooks algorithms can’t be wrong, can they?
It will probably never be re-activated. Unless my persistent clicking the “re-open case” button will result in an actual human being looking into it. Or, if somehow the masses rise and demand the page being re-instated (please do by the way).

Oh, for those friends who don’t have any other contact data and who want to keep in touch with the facebook account formerly known as Ka Ketelmug, the easiest way is to find me on my artist page: https://www.deviantart.com/twisted-kritters , on Twitter https://twitter.com/KKetelmug, or find someone who knows me who can give you some contact details, and we can keep in touch over Telegram for example.
In the future, you will find me on https://www.openbook.social/en/home as soon as it goes beta and I’m invited for it. Check it out. It will provide everything where facebook goes horribly wrong.

The long version and lots of background info

Continue reading Right-wing Trolls and Algorithms