August 2011, Facebook created some anti-spam algorithms which were intended to ward off suspicious spam, but some environmental activists were targeted as well and unable to post on like-minded Facebook pages for three weeks. Facebook has sent apology notes out and is changing this automated system.
Facebook’s spokesman Andrew Noyes says that Facebook isn’t in the business of disabling account or removing controversial topics, and that their system is not perfect, therefore mistakes do happen occasionally. Facebook sent out apology notes.
Was this an accident? This is a capability that most are not aware of, and it is interesting to know that text data mining is occurring, and there are anti-spam programs running behind the scenes. Although this doesn’t seem like a big deal, the future may lend itself to a different story – this technology is readily available and could be used by our government to limit and disrupt free speech on social websites, since it is has been a way for citizens to become organized for political dissent.
Title: Facebook’s spam program catches activists
Source: NewsTrust, Aug. 20, 2011
Author: Kevin Begos
Student Researcher: Cheryl Fonseca, Sonoma State University
Community Evaluator: Karena A. Heinz, D.Sc.