Facebook's secret blacklist revealed

At The Intercept, Sam Biddle reveals Facebook's whispered-of secret blacklist: the people and organizations verboten on the site. The list "disproportionately punishes certain communities" and includes "politicians, writers, charities, hospitals, hundreds of music acts, and long-dead historical figures". Facebook has repeatedly been asked to publish it, including by its own oversight board, but refuses to do so.

The Intercept has reviewed a snapshot of the full DIO list and is today publishing a reproduction of the material in its entirety, with only minor redactions and edits to improve clarity. It is also publishing a set of associated policy documents, created to help moderators decide what posts to delete and what users to punish.

"Facebook puts users in a near-impossible position by telling them they can't post about dangerous groups and individuals, but then refusing to publicly identify who it considers dangerous," said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice's liberty and national security program, who reviewed the material.

Facebook, for its part, says that it doesn't want to publish hate groups and terrorists and doesn't want to tip them off either. Reasonable enough…

Though the experts who reviewed the material say Facebook's policy is unduly obscured from and punitive toward users, it is nonetheless a reflection of a genuine dilemma facing the company. After the Myanmar genocide, the company recognized it had become perhaps the most powerful system ever assembled for the global algorithmic distribution of violent incitement.

…but as Biddle points out, the focus on Islamists and leftists results in predictable bias.