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Facebook in 2020: ‘The AI Made Us Do It’

Data privacy took center stage at this week’s Facebook hearings. But as lawmakers grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on what data it tracks and what data it “sells,” another important question emerged.

Zuckerberg said in very clear terms that he was responsible for the content on Facebook. The days of pretending to be a “dumb pipe” are over. Good. Now we have something else to worry about: How will Facebook and other tech companies police what billions of people say through their websites every second?

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Ultimately, some blend of AI and humans does seem the only feasible way to try to police speech on the internet. But there are some deeply troubling pitfalls we need to anticipate and be honest about lest the public feel misled yet again.

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Imagine Zuckerberg telling a senator that a controversial post was mistakenly pulled because the AI found it offensive—but then not being able to explain why.