December 4, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Facebook disables accounts of dozens of left wing activists in Britain

Facebook has disabled the accounts of over 45 left wing activists and 15 Facebook pages in Britain. The individuals and pages are all socialist and left wing political activists and organisations who campaign against racism and climate change, and in solidarity with Palestine. 

Facebook has given no reason for disabling the accounts, and has not given any genuine way of appealing what has happened. 

The activists involved have expressed concern that it amounts to a silencing of political activists and left wing views on Facebook. The scale and uniformed nature of the disabling – all activists are also members of the Socialist Workers Party (1) – suggests that Facebook algorithms have targeted those who have used the platform to challenge racism or to issue solidarity with Palestine. It is possible that new Facebook investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is incorrectly targeting political campaigns as ‘hate speech’ (2). Indeed in November 2020 an open letter from 200 Facebook content moderators to Mark Zuckerberg warned of the dangers of replacing their jobs with algorithms (3). 

Senior Facebook employees have stated that AI and algorithms are used to identify 95 percent of ‘hate speech’ on Facebook, up from 23.6 percent in 2017. (4) There have also been reports that Facebook has been disabling accounts and pages in the period the US election took place, again with little or no evidence that these accounts were breaching any ‘community standards’. (5)

Those who have had their accounts disabled have said they are going to challenge the decision, and demand they are reinstated. 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The Socialist Workers Party is the biggest far left group in Britain: swp.org.uk
  2. Facebook’s new AI protocols can be found here: https://about.fb.com/news/2020/11/community-standards-enforcement-report-nov-2020/
  3. The open letter from Facebook’s content moderators can be found here: https://www.foxglove.org.uk/news/open-letter-from-content-moderators-re-pandemic
  4. The Facebook report on AI use can be found here: https://about.fb.com/news/2020/11/measuring-progress-combating-hate-speech/
  5. The report on disabled account as a result of the US election can be found here: https://fortune.com/2020/11/28/facebooks-ai-is-mistakenly-banning-some-small-business-ads/

Contact:

  1. Lewis Nielsen 0777 092 3809
  2. Hector Sierra 07462 349021

Category: Press releases