Facebook, the world’s most trusted source of ‘totally legitimate news’ has a bug in its system, that is causing even legitimate posts about coronavirus and other topics to be erroneously marked as spam. This is causing users of its main app and Instagram to speak out in confusion.
Multiple users had been complaining about posts from trusted sources like Atlantic and Politico being marked as spam. Since these sources are respected and reputed news sources, users were bewildered by these unexpected turn of events. However, Vice President of Integrity at Facebook, Guy Rosen, confirmed in a tweet on Monday, that this was in fact a bug and the company has restored all the posts that were wrongfully deleted.
The tweet read, “We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19. This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.”
He also wrote in another tweet, “This is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any change in our content moderator workforce.”
The issue came into being a day after Facebook had announced that it was sending home for public health reasons, all contract workers who perform content review services for the social media giant. The employees could not work from home due to privacy concerns, thus resulting in zero human oversight in the ‘content removing’ department.
Former Chief Security Officer at Facebook, Alex Stamos, tweeted that this was in fact a result of some code in the platform anti-spam mechanism going haywire because of less human oversight. He tweeted, “It looks like an anti-spam rule at FB is going haywire. Facebook sent home content moderators yesterday, who generally can’t WFH due to privacy commitments the company has made. We might be seeing the start of the ML going nuts with less human oversight.”