#FacebookFiles: Minister Naughten demands “significant step change” from Facebook

By | 23rd August 2018

COMMUNICATIONS minister Denis Naughten told Facebook he was “appalled” by an undercover report into the company especially because he had publicly defended the social media giant on several occasions.

Minutes of a meeting held between the minister and the company show how Mr Naughten demanded a “significant step change” from Facebook.

The meeting was held in New York just days after a Channel 4 Dispatches programme revealed a chaotic system of moderating harmful and illegal content on Facebook.

At the meeting, Mr Naughten told Facebook of his disgust that content flagged as inappropriate was not being taken down and was actually being used for training purposes.

The minister told them: “This sort of content shouldn’t go up on the platform in the first instance, the system broke down on this occasion.”

The minister informed Facebook that retraining and reviews were not enough and that he needed “significant measures” as a result of the broadcast.

In response, the company told the minister they now had 7,500 content reviewers but conceded it was “difficult to train” them all after doubling the size of their team in just twelve months.

An account of the meeting – obtained under FOI – reported Facebook had said it made “no business sense” to allow inappropriate content as advertisers did not want to be associated with it.

Minister Naughten warned Facebook to “make sure [there was] never a repeat of this” according to the minutes.

Mr Naughten said: “Colleagues across the EU are going to ask me about this. What significant changes are Facebook going to make so this never happens again?”

 

FOI Details:

The records requested for this FOI were:

• Copies of minutes or notes taken at the meeting between Minister Naughten
and Facebook in New York.

• Copies of any presentations/briefing materials given to Minister Naughten by
Facebook.

• Copies of any briefing materials prepared for Minister Naughten in advance
of the meeting.

• Copies of any correspondence between Minister Naughten and his private
office and Facebook in run-up and subsequent to the above meeting.”

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