Facebook is blocking users from posting some legitimate news articles about the coronavirus in what appears to be a bug in its spam filters.
On Tuesday, multiple Facebook users reported on Twitter that they found themselves unable to post articles from certain news outlets including Business Insider, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and the Times of Israel. It’s not clear exactly what has gone wrong, and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
In the face of the mounting COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has sent many of its content moderators home, saying it will rely more on automated software instead. Alex Stamos, an outspoken former Facebook security exec, speculated that this shift might be to blame.
„It looks like an anti-spam rule at FB is going haywire,“ he wrote on Twitter. „Facebook sent home content moderators yesterday, who generally can’t [work from home] due to privacy commitments the company has made. We might be seeing the start of the [machine learning going nuts with less human oversight.“
Facebook denied that the bug was related to any changes to its content moderator workforce.
In a tweet, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said: „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.“
Here are some of the complaints:
Facebook decided that my posting of this Times of Israel article is spam. (It’s not spam.) pic.twitter.com/3NqUbiwmyi
— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) March 17, 2020
@elbuder – tell you know that @Facebook just removed the link I posted to your recent article in @TheAtlantic . “Your post goes against our Community Standards on spam,” is the reason they gave. Upsetting that this important communication is considered by anyone as spam. pic.twitter.com/iYjgbXQNYB
— VJ Um Amel (@vj_um_amel) March 17, 2020
Had three removed all critical of trump pic.twitter.com/e5G1TGfPwU
This content was originally published here.