You might have seen various screenshots on your Facebook feed this morning of users complaining that Facebook is blocking genuine news articles about the COVID-19 Outbreak. Well it turns out that Facebook has been hit with a Virus of its own as it is blocking users from posting some legitimate news articles about the coronavirus in what appears to be a bug in its spam filters.
Many users were also tweeting about this as they found themselves unable to post articles from certain news outlets including Business Insider, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and the Times of Israel. It’s not clear exactly what has gone wrong, and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
In the face of the mounting COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has sent many of its content moderators home, saying it will rely more on automated software instead. Alex Stamos, an outspoken former Facebook security exec, speculated that this shift might be to blame. However, Facebook denied that the bug was related to any changes to its content moderator workforce.
In a tweet, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said: “We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back.” In the early hours of the morning, Rosen said that the issue is sorted.
We’ve restored all the posts that were incorrectly removed, which included posts on all topics – not just those related to COVID-19. This was an issue with an automated system that removes links to abusive websites, but incorrectly removed a lot of other posts too.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) March 18, 2020