“Facebook’s blacklist”: confidential document leaked

As part of its moderation policy, Facebook uses a list of organizations and people considered dangerous. The social network never wanted to share it, despite the opinion of its Supervisory Board which recommended that this list be made public.

In a decision rendered in January, this Council, which acts as the Supreme Court with regard to moderation decisions on the social network, recommended that Facebook publish this list or at least give examples. If this recommendation was never followed by the company, today, the list is leaked.

This secret list of people and organizations considered dangerous by Facebook was edited to make it more readable, then published by the site The Information. Over 4,000 people or groups appear on it and it includes white supremacists, militarized social movements as well as suspected terrorists.

The Intercept also evokes a system of classification of the entities of this list which allows the social network to manage its moderation. None of these entities are allowed to have a presence on Facebook. On the other hand, the ranking has an influence on what other users can say about the entity.

Thus, if a person or organization is ranked level 1, Facebook users would not have the right to praise or show support. If the entity is level 2 (which for example includes armed rebels), users would be allowed to praise the non-violent actions of that entity, without expressing “substantial support” to the groups themselves. Finally, if an entity is level 3, conversations would be free.

The reaction of a Facebook official, who points to a “superficial” analysis of the document

Brian Fishman, Facebook’s director of counterterrorism and dangerous organizations, has already reacted on Twitter. He explains that like many organizations, Facebook has decided not to share its list in order to limit the legal risks, the security risks, as well as the risks that the organizations included in this list will use it to bypass the devices. in place.

Otherwise, Fishman responds to comments pointing to the fact that on the list of suspected terrorist organizations, more than half of the entities are mainly from the Middle East, South Asia and Muslims.

“Many of the groups listed in the document are subsidiaries or media wings of larger entities. This is especially true with well-established terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, for which we have documented hundreds of individual entities ”, writes the manager. “This is important, because in a superficial analysis, this structure significantly skews the total number of features in a particular region. “

“Over 250 white supremacist entities are designated under our most restrictive policy as Level 1 hate groups. It means no ‘praise, support and representation'”, adds the manager later.

In his series of tweets, Fishman also recalls that Facebook has legal obligations to ban certain organizations. “For example, FB has a legal obligation to follow US law relating to entities designated as foreign terrorist organizations, global terrorists and other sanctioned parties.”, he writes.

In addition, the list which has been disseminated by The Information is not exhaustive, since the document is constantly updated.

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