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Representative asks internet CEOs to explain 'absurd' content policies

Representative asks internet CEOs to explain 'absurd' content policies
From TechCrunch - October 23, 2017

Facebook, Google and Twitter are under great scrutiny lately for their rather inconsistent approaches to moderating content on their platforms, and Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is the latest to take them to task. Calling the results of the various undocumented policies absurd, he summoned the companies CEOs for a talk on the topic.

Citing the fact that so much activity has become concentrated on these major platforms, Rep. Pallone wrote in his letter that each has become a quasi-governmental role policing content, and therefore a large amount of communication, on the internet.

But as weve seen, the companies rules for what is and isnt allowed are apparently rather fluid, and of course with millions or billions of pieces of content to inspect or filter, there are innumerable cracks through which troublesome content can slip.

With a goal of ad clicks or driving page views, these companies policies are not neutral; they actively shape content on the web. And to the extent that these companies platforms have publicly available policies for moderating content, those policies are vague and applied inconsistently. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to understand how content is controlled and for the government to oversee the market. Ultimately, algorithms and employees become the arbiters of what is acceptable content in the public forum without transparent guidelines. The result of these dynamics can often be absurd.

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