The sheer scale of the nefarious crap that litters Facebook is astonishing. As Michal Lev-Ram relates in her new feature on the company, in just the first quarter Facebook found that it had published 837 million instances of “spam, false advertising, fraud, malicious links, or promotion of counterfeit goods.” That’s merely the beginning of how a site that began as a way for Harvard undergrads to scope each other out online has polluted our lives, endangered democracy, and generally made the world a safer place for bigots and scammers.
I encourage you to read Lev-Ram’s meticulously and exceedingly fairly reported article. Facebook was somewhere between late (a generous assessment) and negligent (less generous) in acknowledging its problems. Now it is throwing considerable resources of the human and AI variety at the task of cleaning up its soiled publishing platform.