In the context of the increasingly complicated Covid-19 pandemic, especially in Western countries, Facebook has been continuously reflected on obstructing freedom of speech in a confusing way, especially regarding the content of Covid-19 outbreak.
The Verge, a well-known technology news site and media network in the US said in mid-March that Facebook was constantly marking a number of posts, links to information and articles about Covid-19, considering them fake news or violations to community standards.
Author Trinh Phuc Chu pointed out that: The recent transparency report of Facebook also shows that, among other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam is the country that requires Facebook to restrict access to most content.
Other newspapers such as Business Insider and Guardian also reported that Facebook company has “scrutinized” closely about disease sources to fight fake news, but most of the major and prestigious newspapers in the world are also considered spams and the person who reposts may also be locked for certain time.
Prior to this incident, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, explained that the problem was caused by a filtering tool in the anti-spam system.
Mr. Rosen also said the company started to carry out to fix the issue as soon as the problem was discovered.
Mr. Rosen said Facebook restored the affected posts.
“We have reinstated all inaccurate deleted posts, including those on all topics – not just those related to Covid-19,” he explained.
According to Facebook, the problem is due to an automated censorship tool and does not involve any particular views or guidelines from the moderator.
However, many hypotheses that the world’s largest social network is taking advantage of the pandemic context to set up a strict mechanism to filter information for political gain.
With employees working from home in mid-March, Facebook had to rely on an automated system to detect, remove infringing content and disable accounts. To minimize errors, content review will take more time. Facebook said that although there will be many obstacles, the company will find ways to adjust and try its best to work more effectively to protect its platform.
On the other hand, when users report content that violates Facebook policies, they will receive a notification that the company is focusing on the content that has the greatest risk of harm in the community. This means that some reports will not be reviewed as quickly as before, even many articles will be ignored.
Normally, when deleting an article, Facebook will give people the option to request a review if they think the content of the review is mistaken. Currently, due to a declining workforce, users can only report to the system, Facebook will monitor and improve feedback, but the company will not review the content a second time.
It seems that Facebook is taking the opportunity of a global pandemic and applying filtering and browsing news based on AI tools – artificial intelligence – to be able to outline local language spaces and regions. – that Facebook’s algorithms can control the disposition of the sources they want.
In other words, Facebook is creating its own propaganda committee, operating according to the news and controlling it according to its own will, or cooperating to control it according to a certain state or group of people.
Earlier, on January 30, Facebook announced it would prevent the spread of false information about the outbreak of Covid-19.
Facebook said in a statement late January 30 (local time): “While the global health community is working hard to ensure the health of its people, Facebook will support this work in many ways, especially in reducing the spread of misinformation about the corona virus, and at the same time bringing useful information to everyone.”
According to Facebook, the 3rd party inspection team will continue to censor the content. When the posted information is judged to be false, its spread will be limited. Facebook will also notify users to post such information about content censorship results.
The Facebook company added: “We will begin to remove content that contains false information or hypotheses that have been deemed by the global health organizations and local health authorities to be bewildering. citizen. We do this as an extension of our current policies to remove content that could physically harm us. ”
The fact that Facebook has blocked the freedom of speech of these most popular social media users has been known for many years. Even last year, US President Donald Trump issued a warning to some social networks in which he emphasized Facebook.
President Donald Trump warned that Facebook would suffer a disaster if it continued to block users’ freedom of speech.
Many accounts and user posts on Facebook were blocked and removed and the issues made the White House to issue a legal submission to Facebook moderators.
Donald J Trump wrote on Twitter: We have a little thing called freedom of speech in this country. That means no one is allowed to censor American thoughts and words. We can say what we want. Any where. Anytime. About anything. You should be happy about that!
Social media is clearly breaking the law and I’m here to tell those little friends, Zuckerberg and the Twitter guy – I’m looking and I promise you, I’ll bring you down!
In many ways, I can ask all Americans to boycott you. Show you how respecting the freedom of expression of others …!
That said, it is time for companies that censor social media to enforce free speech laws.
If not, this could be the end for both Facebook and Twitter.
In Vietnam, blogger Tuan Khanh commented: Not everyone who is locked or having articles deleted by Facebook will be restored fairly.
Moreover, those who have article deleted and or accounts locked become a long list of social media users who are harassed, intimidated, and fined by Vietnamese police.
These things make observers of Facebook activities in Vietnam become more curious. In addition to Facebook’s acts of deletions and removals, Facebookers have been summoned by police.
Many writers on Facebook, because they are more cautious, still complained that their posts are hidden and become less accessible to others due to Facebook’s tricks.
Even those who always have a stable number of views and likes from 500 to 1000 in each post, have realized the difference when constantly reducing the number of people who know and read their posts for a while.
Clearly, Facebook is playing a certain role in tightening free speech in Vietnam and around the world.
At the end of March, the Department of Cyber Security and High Technology Crime Prevention of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security announced that they had a complete profiles of people on the Facebook network who are disseminating news different from the news provided by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Education and Propaganda. The department said more than 300 of nearly 700 cases of “false” reports about the Covid-19 on social media were handled by authorities.
According to the department’s statistics, since the Covid-19 broke out, there have been more than 900,000 information posted on cyberspace in Vietnam. Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung, in a speech in early February 2020, also praised Facebook and Google for always cooperating closely with his ministry to deal with “bad objects” from a government standpoint.
The number of Vietnamese requests was 1,556, 2.5 times higher than that of Thailand, 59 times higher than Malaysia, 70 times higher than Indonesia, 259 times higher than Singapore, and 389 times higher than the Philippines. This figure also increased by over 500% compared to the first half of 2018 in Vietnam. In the international arena, Vietnam was surpassed only by Pakistan, Brazil and India. In fact, Facebook has cooperated quite smoothly with the communist government of Vietnam because it dont want to lose its interest in this attractive market. But can Facebook have the right to block freedom of speech on the international stage, especially in its country of origin, the United States, which values human freedom?
Hoang Trung from Hanoi – Thoibao.de (Translated)