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📌 When it's better not to be first

The week in content moderation - edition #4

Good evening to new recipients from the BBC, Founders Factory, The Times and Vogue International and a special hello to my loyal colleague Diana who signed up without being prompted.

I'm working from the EJC's HQ in Maastricht this week and the time difference means this is a bit later than usual. Back to normal next week.

Thanks for reading — BW

First publisher disadvantage

You may have heard of the ‘first mover advantage’, the idea that being first in a market gains you a competitive advantage over your rivals.

The opposite is true when it comes to graphic yet newsworthy content posted online. There’s a ‘first publisher disadvantage’.

Take the recent Jacksonville Landing shooting, in which a lone gunman shot and killed two and injured ten others at a video game tournament. The incident was being streamed live on Twitch and numerous videos circulated on Reddit, Twitter and YouTube in the aftermath.

Twitch had first publisher disadvantage in this case. As Polygon writes, they removed any video of the shooting whilst YouTube, Facebook and Twitter decided not to but to apply 'graphic violence’ warnings on the video.

Their reason for doing so? Because their community guidelines deemed it 'newsworthy'. By which they mean, it was published on another platform long enough and other outlets wrote about it quickly enough that they could justify keeping it up.

Not a particularly strong argument, I think you'll agree.

Who, not what

Last week, I made the point  that conversation was shifting away from what people say and who's saying it. So it was interesting to see this week that Instagram added join date, former usernames and other info to accounts of ’notable public figures' as well as improving their verification procedure.

In order to be successfully verified, you must display 'authenticity, uniqueness, completeness and notability’. Which sound like qualities of a knight of the realm rather than a verified user but hey.

Apply within

You may have heard of Explain Like I'm Five, the excellent subreddit where users pose questions that they want answered in simple terms. I noticed they're looking for people to help moderate  and have put together a rigorous application process.

Not only is there examples of comments that you have to tackle, you’re also expected to explain how you'd resolve a dispute with a follow moderator. Phew. That’s tougher than most jobs.

Not forgetting

Dozens at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal Culture - The New York Times

In a rare sign of internal dissent, more than 100 employees have formed a group to agitate for better representation of conservative views.

"We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views”: that’s the verdict of a senior engineer whose letter to his colleagues was leaked to the NYT this week and makes Facebook’s job of addressing bias in its products even harder to argue against.

Facebook's War on Bullshit Is Not Going Well—We Talked to the Fact Checkers on the Front Lines

The harassment of Julia and her team started in May.

Is Facebook’s fact-checking just moderation under a different name? Reading this good Gizmodo piece about the process that partners such as Correctiv and AFP use to fact-check flagged content, it certainly seems so. It’s certainly not like fact-checking in the journalistic sense.

Tumblr is explicitly banning hate speech

Tumblr is changing its community guidelines to address hate speech, glorifying violence, and revenge porn.

Tumblr is the latest platform to update their community guidelines, a company blogpost announced this week. The team in charge of moderation will increase too although it’s not clear by how many.

Everything in Moderation is a weekly newsletter about content moderation and the policies, products, platforms and people shaping its future.