Open & Connected

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Gun violence in the United States results in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries annually. What does the Government do to resolve or fight it? The answer is they are trying. They are taking prominent steps. But at the end of the day, they can not stop each death. They can not control a person sitting thousands of miles away from committing a crime. Taking decisions for large groups of people and trying to maintain peace in the country is a challenge. The government of every country faces it. Essentially, the government is trying to keep the environment safe so that people can walk around freely and communities could thrive. 

Connecting billions of people around the globe is sort of a similar issue but on a world scale. Each user is a global citizen, which increases the burden on a company like Facebook, as they have to regulate policies taking into mind all kinds of users. The government has been accusing the platform of promoting hate speech and violence, but how do you expect a software to differentiate between hate speech and a motivating post when it is not even trained for it? And there we have the loophole.

Facebook is trying vigorously to cope up with all kinds of concerns that pop up each day. It was launched in February 2004 as a Social Media Platform that allowed users to connect with their friends and family. Soon it grew giving its users a voice to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions with everyone on the internet. Currently, one-third of the population of the planet is using Facebook. The company has about 50K employees. These 50K employees have the responsibility of handling information about billions of people.

 


Most of the people reading this article must have read about the Cambridge Analytica Controversy which brought Facebook into the limelight and got the company into a lot of trouble. It is a big deal, hands down. But, the company has tried hard to overcome that dent. Why does a company like Google, Amazon, Netflix does not face such an issue? The answer is obvious – they do not give users the power to share their notions, insights,  and thoughts. Think about it – If tomorrow Amazon starts allowing every user to post an ad for the old products they want to sell. In a matter of days, Amazon will be flooded with millions of spam posts. If Netflix starts allowing the users to post their own home-made films, it will soon lose its reputation. Google is spending millions of dollars on Youtube to remove videos with hate speech and potential pornographic content. Every platform that allows users to share their thoughts will be prone to illegal and evil activities. 

There are bots built which are creating fake accounts every day on the platform to share misinformation. They apply different tactics for not getting detected by the AI Algorithms. How does one trace these activities? How does one stop such actions from happening in the first place?

An automated bot can be detected and stopped. But, you can not stop a person. No AI Algorithm can guarantee to detect anomalies with 100% accuracy. It is literally the Human vs AI situation. Even if the Algorithm becomes successfully detects faults in a post, the human will find a way to put the same information differently the next time. The current trend is to use emojis instead of exact real words. There are tons of ways a human can convey emotions and thoughts.

Think about the kind of content out there on the Facebook App – video, images, text, comments, reviews, all these are coming from actual people. The Technical Team at Facebook has to handle all these features, along with rolling out new innovations. For example, a post may have text which looks fine, an attached picture which is also decent enough, but the comments include hate speech, which should be detected and removed. Everything needs to be coordinated. It is a heavy task.

 


Mark Zuckerberg is just 35 years old, at that age he manages the biggest social media platform in the world. He has to sit through all the Court investigations and defend the company against all the accusations. He is undertaking a mammoth task, and everyone at the company is trying to innovate. These ingenious young minds are working hard to connect billions of people around the globe. They are solving real problems and building tools of the future which can potentially be used by government agencies. 

There are so many people out there who think Facebook is useless, waste of time, or addictive. Maybe it is addictive, but as a user it is all in your hands, the platform is meant to connect you with your communities, you do not have to talk to them the whole day if you end up using it the whole day, it is just a habit that you need to get rid of.

I use Facebook to look for houses when I am moving to a new area. I use Instagram to post some of the best and weirdest clicks almost every day. I connect with my family who lives thousands of miles away through Whatsapp. These are the tools that are most necessary in connecting people all across. The fact is – such platforms will always face enormous controversies. As long as the platform allows users to convey their opinions, it will face concerns. It can not track down every single post, it is not even feasible. Even AI is not advanced enough to detect it. Even if the company makes one percent mistakes every day, it will end up affecting thousands of individuals across the globe every single day. 

Facebook is investing in projects that will help Non-Charitable organizations raise funds, Promote Blood Donations in the third world countries, and a market place for creators to sell their home-made products. The spirit of the company and its employees is undying. So, let us be considerate.

That was my perspective. Thank you for reading!

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