Tech’s Fractal Irresponsibility Problem

It’s Thursday, so there’s another small scandal in the tech world. Hate groups that Facebook had booted from its platform after the murder of Heather Heyer have slithered back into the blue-and-white universe, The Guardian reported. The Southern Poverty Law Center gave an exasperated quote; Facebook forcefully averred, “As organized hate groups, they have no place on our platform.� But the weird thing is: Before the Guardian reporter Julia Carrie Wong contacted the company—which is worth around $600 billion, has roughly 17,000 employees dedicated to content moderation, and has been talking about working on these problems for two and a half years—the pages were very much on the platform.

It recalled so many other minor tech scandals, any one of which has been written off as an “edge case,� as this “mistake,� or that “mistake,� as an “error,� as just “playful,� or as a component of an acceptable error rate. There are countless more of these situations, only some of which even rise to newsworthiness.

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