Facebook and other such platforms have been facing a situation where they need to act fast because of the present situation with COVID-19. This is because we have seen that there is a lot of misinformation flying on the platform and it is easy for people to believe them. Therefore, Facebook has been doing its part and blocking that false information but that also means mistakes happen. Because it is not possible for Facebook to manually check all the links and so it deploys AI to see which is false information and block them. Thus, AI has wrongly blocked some links and this case has come to our notice.
Upon further investigation, it was found out that there was actually a bug inside Facebook’s system because the information from legit sites was also getting blocked. It is revealed that a massive bug in its News Feed spam filter caused URLs to legitimate websites including Medium, Buzzfeed, and USA Today to be blocked from being shared as posts or comments.
A Facebook spokesperson said that “We’re looking into this right now and working as quickly as possible to share information. [I] can confirm at this point that we’re looking into the matter, can’t confirm what might be happening just yet.” This is after TechCrunch reached out to them with evidence that they were not able to share links from websites that were providing real information regarding the virus.
Later on, Facebook revealed that “We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon.” Facebook came up with an update saying that “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.”