A bug in Facebook’s anti-spam algorithm has been accidentally suspending groups on the social network, sparking anger from the groups’ founders and conspiracy theories from some of their followers.
On Monday night, six pro-Bernie Sanders groups were temporarily suspended by Facebook. A day later, five Facebook groups supporting Filipino presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, with a total membership of more than 3 million people, were also taken down for a short period.
In both cases, supporters and administrators of the groups initially blamed the outages on political opponents. On social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, false reports for spam or abusive behaviour can sometimes be enough to trigger automatic bans, if submitted in large enough quantities. One filipino supporter of Duterte suggested that “It takes over 1,000 reports under 30 minutes for a Facebook page takedown to be triggered,” and called on his opponents to “act like decent people!”
Similar reactions were evident amongst Sanders supporters, who blamed astroturfing by pro-Clinton political action committees.
But Facebook told technology site Recode that the outages were actually due to a glitch in its systems. “A number of groups were inaccessible for a brief period after one of our automated policies was applied incorrectly. We corrected the problem within hours and are working to improve our tools.”
After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare
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This article first appeared in Salon.
Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."
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With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.
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At the outset of the segment, Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto said that the announcement is "effectively saying the president has given himself this contract."