Facebook executives promoting their video-on-demand service got into a combative exchange with reporters while at the Television Critics Association’s press…
Facebook executives were questioned about distribution of conspiracy site InfoWars content on Facebook, also Facebook’s linking to Fox News. Specifically, the reporters’ questioned Facebook about why they permit content from those services on Facebook and what steps is Facebook taking to limit distribution of their content?
Oddly, reporters seem to want Facebook to censor speech – as long as it is not the reporters’ own speech. A day ago, librarians had an opinion column retracted from Forbes. I am so old, I remember when librarians and reporters were the front line of “freedom of speech” and press, and sought to ensure all voices were heard, even those that many of us find repugnant.
When reporters and librarians encourage censorship, they are operating as propagandists.
Update: YouTube has issued two strikes against the InfoWars channel (one in February, which has expired and now a second one after the 90 day clock counter was reset) and has suspended InfoWars live channel broadcasts for 90 days.
Update: A day later, Facebook has banned the InfoWars channel for 30 days.
YouTube has an interesting method of escalating complaints about content, including stolen content being posted – that results in a “strike” being issued. Multiple strikes within a period of time – 3 strikes in 90 days – will cause the channel to be shut down.
The YouTube “strikes” system is a good idea, but it has weaknesses. Unfortunately, legitimate content creators may receive “fake” complaints about their content, issued by competing channels or receive false copyright claims that are clearly in error.
I have a video of a Civil War “Living History” camp and battle re-enactment on YouTube which features a performance of “Taps”, by a US Army trumpet player. “Taps” was written by a private and a General during the U.S. Civil War and is in the public domain. The US Army labeled their “Taps” performance as in the public domain and says it may be used and reproduced for any purpose.
Yet two well known entertainment companies issued simultaneous “take down” notices for my video!
Obviously, both could not own the copyright at the same time. I challenged the take down notice successfully and my video remains online.
In another example, a Civil War video included a drum cadence from the US Civil War era. A German music publisher claimed credit for this recording and my video was banned from being shown in Germany even though the drum cadence I used was recorded by me as it was performed by a volunteer re-enactor at the event. At the time this happened, Youtube did not have a system for challenging false claims.
In another example, I used music which I licensed (paid a fee) for use in the video. Yet a large entertainment company (oddly enough, one of the two in the “Taps” claim) said they had a copyright on that video. This was an old video that I didn’t care about so I just deleted it, even though it was a false copyright claim. This is a problem with automated systems that seek to find copyright music inside a video – they have no way of telling the difference between a legitimately licensed use of the music versus a copyright violation.
This also points to problems with Facebook, as well as Youtube, which use “artificial intelligence” to identify inappropriate content for censorship. Often times, their computer is incapable of telling the difference between appropriate and inappropriate content. The result is (as has happened) Facebook censoring medical information about, say, breast cancer.