I want to thank all of the websites that continue to allow me to write and share my ideas. I hope by now many of you know that my books have been banned from Facebook. I was communicating with millions of people who seemed to like both my thrillers and my children’s books, at least based on the page views and click-throughs.
Facebook never gave me no reason as to why they banned both my books and me. Facebook is the thought police, and it decided that people all over the world should be deprived of the opportunity to hear what I have to say. I know that not everyone agrees with everything I say, and that is okay, because through comments we can still exchange thoughts and ideas.
As a veteran, the 4th of July is a significant time for me.
We celebrate the liberty that many men and women paid for with their lives. Lincoln said in his famous Gettysburg Address that we honor those who gave "the last full measure” of their lives. I thought about those words and what they meant to me, and then I heard that a small Texas newspaper called the Liberty County Vindicator published excerpts of the Declaration of Independence on its Facebook page.
Facebook marked the post as “hate speech.”
Next, Facebook removed it. Here is the reason Facebook shut it down: the post, “goes against our standards on hate speech.” The backlash from true Americans pressured Facebook to restore the quotes from the Declaration and indicated that Facebook would launch an investigation into the incorrect action as well.
Initially, I was concerned that someone in a dark room decided that he or she would be the one to declare that the Declaration of Independence was hate speech. Fox News posted a story saying that Facebook was exonerated.
“The removal of the post was an automated action,” explained Vindicator Managing Editor Casey Stinnett. He added, “If any human being working at Facebook were to review it, no doubt the post would be allowed.”
Facebook went on to say, “It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards. We want to apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action,” Facebook said in its email to the Vindicator.
The Facebook algorithms are coming under scrutiny at the moment, as they should be because they are automated. There is an excellent discussion about artificial intelligence and the use of algorithms, but not much has been written on their accuracy. I decided to look at what might be the most massive use of artificial intelligence algorithms by the public. Hey, Siri is on millions of phones, and I found a study by Digital Trends that showed a test of Siri’s accuracy to be 62 percent.
That is a good percentage, right? However, it also means one-third of the time it gets things wrong, and it still getting things wrong today.
If we depend on Facebook artificial intelligence to make decisions on what is hate speech, I wonder how many times Facebook gets it wrong? I wonder on a personal level if the artificial intelligence at Facebook got it wrong on my books?
We as a nation should not go back and rewrite history based on today’s standards. Revising the past does not change the past. To not talk about something does not mean it did not occur. What gives me grave concern is that I believe that it was persons who started the algorithms that reviewed the Liberty County Vindicator. You may not agree with me, but I think that is way too much power in one person, company’s, or computer’s hands.
Facebook initially decided on the Declaration posting. What gave it the right to make this editorial decision on one of our nation’s most important historical documents? How is it possible that freedom of speech is being governed, not by the law, but with a computer that decides without understanding the content of what is in front of it, and it has the power to stop free speech from seeing the light of day?
Facebook said that it would look into the incorrect action taken on behalf of the company by the computer.
What I want to know is whether Mr. Zuckerberg gave programmers instructions that they were going to use to build the algorithms that will be the final arbiters of hate speech? Did he tell them to program what could be seen or heard by the entire nation? What training did the Facebook programming staff goes through to make these decisions? Judges have law books full of decisions, and despite spending a great deal of time in law school and more in their courts, in some cases, they still make the wrong decision.
The actions of Facebook and its staff in this example are once again just a continuation of a series of examples of a company where Facebook believes that it is the ultimate Supreme Court based not on human thought, nor reason.
Dan Perkins is an author of both thrillers and children’s books. He appears on over 1,100 radio stations. Mr. Perkins appears regularly on international TV talk shows, he is current events commentator for seven blogs, and a philanthropist with his foundation for American veterans, Songs and Stories for Soldiers, Inc. More information about him, his writings, and other works are available on his website, DanPerkins.guru. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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