That’s a pretty fucking tame headline compared to what is in the article. A better more accurate headline might be: ‘Facebook is actively causing people to be lynched.’

Amanda Taub and Max Fisher reporting on this hellacious situation:

We came to this house to try to understand the forces of social disruption that have followed Facebook’s rapid expansion in the developing world, whose markets represent the company’s financial future. For months, we had been tracking riots and lynchings around the world linked to misinformation and hate speech on Facebook, which pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest — a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions.

Basically, the same shit that got Trump elected, turned up to 11, and mixed with no trusted sources of information to calm the anger. It gets worse:

Some messages included photos of dismembered bodies or fake police fliers. Almost immediately, locals in nine villages lynched outsiders they suspected of coming for their children.

Those photos were shared on WhatsApp and Facebook, and spread like wild fire. And the amazing thing is that the government is aware of the issue and is actively fighting to try and get correct information out, and has repeatedly asked Facebook for help:

Officials had pleaded with Facebook representatives, in a meeting in October, to better police hate speech and misinformation, which they warned could spiral into violence. They asked the company to establish an emergency point of contact in case it did. In a separate meeting, civic leaders urged Facebook to hire Sinhalese-speaking moderators to staff its reporting tool.

What say ye Facebook:

The Facebook employees left offering only vague promises, officials said.

There’s no Facebook office in the country. The lack of empathy in Facebook as a company is bewildering. I’ve gone ahead and deleted WhatsApp, and once I’ve figured out how to support my wife as a photographer without Instagram, I’ll delete that account and app too.


Posted by Ben Brooks