- As employees are sent home by companies, AI and automated tools are now set to be the sole protectors of social media content
- Facebook has warned that ”we may see some longer response times and make more mistakes” as a result.
Social media giants Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), and Facebook (FB.O) warned on Monday that more videos and other content could be mistakenly removed for policy violations, as the companies empty offices and rely on automated take-down software during the coronavirus pandemic.
Google, in a blog post, said that to reduce the need for people to come into offices, YouTube and other Google products are temporarily relying more on artificial intelligence and automated tools to find problematic content.
However, such software is not always as accurate as humans, which can lead to errors and the turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower as there’s no one available to moderate these requests.
Soon after, Facebook followed suit, saying it would work with contract vendors this week to send home all content reviewers indefinitely, with pay.
Facebook made that decision after drawing public criticism last week for asking policy enforcers to continue coming to work, as it lacks secure technology to conduct moderation remotely.
The social media company also said the decision to rely more on automated tools, which learns to identify offensive material by analyzing digital clues for aspects common to previous take-downs, has its own limitations.
“We may see some longer response times and make more mistakes as a result”Facebook
Twitter on the other hand said it too would step up use of similar automation, but would not ban users based solely on automated enforcement, because of accuracy concerns.
The three Silicon Valley internet services giants, like many companies globally, have asked employees and independent contractors to work from home if possible, to slow the fast spreading disease. Mass gatherings for sports, cultural and religious events have been canceled globally.
Google said human review of automated policy decisions also would be slower for other products and phone support would be limited.
“Some users, advertisers, developers and publishers may experience delays in some support response times for non-critical services, which will now be supported primarily through our chat, email, and self-service channels,”Google
The content review operations of Google and Facebook span several countries, such as India, Ireland, Singapore and the United States, all which have reported cases of the virus.