Facebook Content Moderation by Politicians
When there was public controversy about politicians deleting users’ comments from their public Facebook pages ahead of the presidential elections, we decided to „measure the unmeasured“.
During a Hackday, we decided to write a service that would save all comments from recent posts on a list of Facebook pages. If a post disappeared after being published, we would know it had been deleted – by the user, the page, or Facebook itself.
We published a story soon after, detailing the moderation behavior on facebook pages. To do this, we manually assigned the comments to categories like „factual criticism“, „insults“ and the like. We found large differences in the candidates’ moderation behaviors and verified our findings by contacting some users, to find out if they had deleted the comments themselves.
We used the tool for further elections until Facebook severely restricted API access, making it unusable.