Facebook, presently under a scanning electron microscope as the smoke clears post-IPO, is now under fire for allegedly removing photos posted of a child with a congenital birth defect. Hundreds of users had been sharing photos of Grayson James Walker, who was born with anencephaly, a neural tube birth defect, only to have the pictures removed. His mother Heather was aware there was a small amount of time, and arranged for a photographer to come take some pictures, some with the baby wearing a hat, some exposing the defect.
Some of those who moderate this sort of content are oDesk employees that Facebook employs for a dollar an hour all over the world. It is evident that particular photos of the child might’ve prompted some deletions. At last count, moderators remove roughly 4 billion articles of content posted by Facebook’s 900+ million users, most falling under categories of pornography, racism and violence. After the photos of Grayson were deleted, Heather re-uploaded them, which led to a temporary ban form the site. Heather made a statement to KCTV in Kansas City, “They allow people to post almost nude pictures of themselves, profanity, and so many other things but I’m not allowed to share a picture of God’s beautiful creation.”
Facebook responded, stating, “Upon investigation, we concluded the photo does not violate our guidelines and was removed in error.” The Social Network added, alluding to its moderation hovels it bankrolls worldwide, “a billion people share more than 300 million photos a day. Our policies are enforced by a team of reviewers in several offices across the globe – This team looks at hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn’t have. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”
What Facebook likely meant to say is that sometimes porno, racism and violence makes it past the eyes of those workers making $1 an hour, and that said workers likely didn’t know what to do with some of the possibly graphic photos in question. Below is a tribute: