With all of the panic concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has started removing legitimate URLs that are being shared as Facebook posts and comments. These URLs lead users to websites such as Medium, USA Today and Buzzfeed. As well as this, some posts and information concerning the coronavirus have been removed. Some but not all posts on the topic.
What does Facebook have to say?
A spokesperson for Facebook told TechCrunch that they are looking into the issue at the moment and working as quickly as possible to share information. The spokesperson could not confirm what was happening as of that moment. Later, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, had confirmed that it was a bug in the anti-spam system via a tweet. He also stated that this issue was non-related to any changes to their content moderator workforce. Just last week, Facebook sent their content moderators home. They said they would start relying on their AI systems more – we were warned that there would be more mistakes.
Rosen has since then shared that the Facebook posts that were incorrectly removed have been restored. This included posts on all topics – not just the news on the coronavirus. The issue started with an automated system that Facebook uses to remove links to abusive websites. This automated system then incorrectly removed other Facebook posts too. Whoops!
The warning that people have recieved
The warnings that people got from Facebook after their post / comment had been removed stated that their post “goes against our Community Standards on spam”. They also said that “No one else can see your post. We have these standards to prevent things like false advertising, fraud and security breaches.
Hopefully the COVID-19 pandemic will be over as soon as it had started so we can all get back to our normal lives / jobs.