Facebook has in recent months been trying to find some way to identify the messages it dislikes, so that they can be restricted.
Not without some spectacular failures, such as when it removed a post recently that consisted almost entirely of text from the Declaration of Independence.
Now it’s targeted a gospel video.
According to a report at WRAL, it was part of Facebook’s “recent crackdown on advertising it considers political.”
“Last month, Zion’s Joy!, a vocal ensemble from Indianapolis, posted a video to its Facebook page for a new song, ‘What Would Heaven Look Like.’ The video opens with images of strife and protests – including scenes of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia – as the group sings lines including, ‘I know it might feel like this trouble will stay, but this world will soon fade away,’” the report said.
Robert Stevenson, founder, said in the report, “We want to touch people’s hearts and let people know that we can do better than the world is doing right now,”
But when the musical group wanted to promote the video by paying Facebook for a “boost,” things went wrong.
One of those algorithms used by the social media company flagged it.
The fact is, the song imagines all people praising God and a world where bigotry and hate are absent.
Eventually, Facebook admitted its mistake and said the post was restored.
But WRAL reported it was part of Facebook’s “political ad policy” which requires inclusion of information about who paid for it.
The report said, “The removal of the video is only the latest example of how Facebook’s rules for identifying political content – tightened in the wake of political pressure over the company’s role in the 2016 presidential election – have labeled various forms of content as political, stirring objections from users and publishers.”
For example, the New York Times has complained its paid promotions for its reporting on politics themselves have been treated as political ads.
It was just days earlier that the Declaration was in Facebook’s bull’s-eye.
The removal confirmed the inability of Facebook’s system to tell the difference between “white nationalist ravings” and the “writing of Thomas Jefferson,” a report in Reason said.
The excerpt, which had been posted by a small community newspaper in Texas, “violated the social media site’s policies against hate speech,” reported Reason.
Reason said that since June 24, the Liberty County Vindicator of Liberty County, Texas, had been sharing daily excerpts from the Declaration in the run up to July Fourth.
“The idea was to encourage historical literacy among the Vindicator’s readers,” Reason reported, noting the first nine such posts of the project went up without incident.
However, the paper’s managing editor, Casey Stinnett, noted that part 10 did not appear.
The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post “goes against our standards on hate speech.”