First workday after the New Year, I just read this news about the campaign on Facebook ‘yes to Neptune, no to censorship’. I guess Facebook is getting itself into a public opinion mess, when it cannot stop fake news from spreading, plus over reacting to Neptune’s naked statue made back in 16th century.
People find it ridiculous that FB had to block a nude statue, so they call for a stop on this censorship. But let’s think about it, do we need censorship for the Internet at all?
The answer is certain, of course we need some kind of censorship for the Internet!
I still remember when I was in the UK, my European friends often say to me, ‘you have censorship in China, it’s a big problem!’ I understand it frightens them knowing people in China are restricted to not just ethical content, but also political content.
Maybe the censorship in China is harsh, but I think it is necessary to be harsh in general. For example, the government is being very strict on fake news. There’s a Weibo account called ‘stopping rumours on Weibo’ which I think is of some help. But what I hated the most, is that fake knowledge is also spreading in Chinese social media. It is very annoying, and it is doing damage to Chinese families.
Why? For one thing, fake knowledge of ‘elderly well-being’ (which elderly people like those kind of info a lot) could lead to health hazard. Secondly, as Chinese parents has great power over their children, it is very annoying when my mother-in-law asks me to follow those ridiculous instructions of putting a goji berry on my forehead to stop a cold!
I was disappointed when people tell me it was a nicer time when there were less censoring in China. I thought I was not living in a fair society here. But as time gone by, I realised that there is no fair society at all in this world, and what needs to be censored is too hard to define.
Can I say that political opinions sometimes is the source of rumours? Have you thought about why fake news exists? Why there would be a fake news about bombing in Thailand? Does that not affect the value of commodities or currencies? And who is going to benefit from that?
But of course, fact remains fact. Anything that is not fact should be prohibited.
To that point, FB really needs a very strong and intelligent algorithm to distinguish fake news and other content that needed to be censored. Given the fact that its software is not working well, how about try use human force to do the censoring first, then use deep learning to build up the intelligence in the future?
China is partly using human for censorship now. It’s just our Net police is being very very strict.
But FB is not a government, it just got basic ethics to follow. As for politics, I think there’s not much FB can do, despite the fact that there are way too many rumours about Trump that got him elected eventually.