Thursday, January 20, 2011


While watching my blog traffic a few weeks ago, I came across a referral link to my blog from this site:

So I watched the traffic some more.  There'd be a hit from the same ISP associated with the Facebook intern site, and some of the profiles featured in the blog would be taken down shortly afterward.

This is fine - certainly better than the numerous hits I get from users searching for "pthc" and related terms.  It looks like Google/Blogger may also be paying occasional visits, which is reasonable.  So greetings, Facebook intern and Google content reviewers.

Content review is potentially expensive, because there's no good automated way to do it and human labor costs money.  Relying on users to report each other is slightly more effective, but has some big problems too.  Users with unpopular opinions can get mass-reported, but accounts using private groups to exchange horrendous stuff fly under the crowd's radar.

A better reporting system could help.  For example, the available choices to report a user are "Inappropriate profile photo", "Fake profile", "Inappropriate profile info", "Inappropriate wall post", and "Unwanted contact."  What about something related to child exploitation that would hopefully get higher priority than a Facebook account someone had set up for their dog?  Likewise, there's a general "nudity/pornography" category to use in reporting photos, but nothing specific for child pornography.

One simple trait that we've seen with some of the problematic users we've tracked is that they frequently get shut down and come right back with new accounts, sometimes on the same day.  Slashdot and some other sites use the notion of "karma," that rewards users for positive (or acceptable) behavior over a period of time.  Facebook could require that users accounts wait a certain amount of time to access certain features.  For example, what if it took 1 week with no warnings or profile name changes to be allowed to join closed groups, and 2 weeks to join private ones?

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