A widowed Aussie “porcophile” shared images of dolls she’d knitted to cope with her grief. Facebook said she spread hate speech.
Facebook has apologised after threatening to ban a South Australian widow from its platform because its computers didn’t like a comment she made on a picture of rabbits.
The 81-year-old self-confessed “porcophile” Rita Rich-Mulcahy began knitting pig dolls to cope with grief after her husband died last year.
Pictures posted to Facebook show her adorable little creations, but they’re not what got her in trouble.
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Facebook removed posts she commented on using the phrase “white pigs”, and accused her of hate speech.
She found that accusation “frightening” as someone who had never had so much as an overdue library book.
“One was on February 1, when a friend in Shrewsbury posted ‘white rabbits, white rabbits’ as it was the first of the month. And I said ‘No, white pigs, white pigs!’ Everyone on the knit site and my page knows I am a porcophile,” she explained, according to the Shropshire Star. “Facebook obviously uses a bot to trawl around Facebook and I had made two comments, totally innocent, which the bot saw as hate speech,” Ms Rich-Mulcahy said.
Facebook predominantly uses “technologies” rather than people to moderate its platform of roughly 3 billion, and these “technologies” frequently make mistakes.
Appealing the mistakes is a lengthy process, many have told news.com.au that they need help to get anyone from the company to so much as acknowledge them after struggling to get a ban overturned, even when Facebook eventually admits that it was responsible for the error.
That’s what the tech titan has done in the case of Ms Rich-Mulcahy.
“Our systems made a mistake here and the comments have now been reinstated,” Facebook told the Telegraph.
“We do sometimes make mistakes when reviewing content, which is why we give people the opportunity to appeal against our decisions,” the company added.