Zuckerberg warns Facebook’s content moderation hurt by coronavirus

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, February 15, 2020.

Christof Stache | AFP | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that the company’s ability to moderate social media content has been affected by Covid-19 limiting its use of human moderators.

As the coronavirus started spreading in the United States in mid-March, Facebook and its partners have sent content moderating contractors home to keep them safe, Zuckerberg said. The move reduced the number of human content moderators from Facebook to its full-time only moderators, he said.

“Our efficiency has certainly been affected by having less human analysis during Covid-19, and unfortunately we expect to make more mistakes until we can speed everything up,” he declares.

Because of this limitation, Facebook has decided to prioritize the use of human moderators to conduct initial reviews of the most serious content violations reported by its users. As a result, Facebook relied less on human moderators to review calls involving other types of content. Zuckerberg said he expects the amount of content being appealed from to be much lower in the company’s August report.

Already, this drop on content call notices can be seen in Tuesday’s report. Revisions to content calls for January to March amounted to 2.3 million pieces of content, down almost 18% from revisions to content calls between October and December 2019 and nearly 26% from January to March 2019.

Despite the decline, Zuckerberg said Facebook will continue to publish its content moderation transparency reports.

“We will continue to share our report even if our numbers drop in certain places because I believe that transparency in the way we manage the safety of our community is as important as the reports that we make on our quarterly revenues”, a he declared.

Facebook is now releasing its content moderators to help review the content, and the majority of those reviewers can now work from home, said Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity for Facebook.

“There’s obviously a difference in what works, so we’re working hard to make sure we prioritize things the right way,” said Rosen.

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