ISD’s Moustafa Ayad spoke to Euronews about his recent research outlined in the Digital Dispatch Iraqi Gun Sales on Facebook: The Very Real Consequences of Moderation Failures.
“It was relatively easy to find weapons for sale on comments sections of very large Facebook pages, pages with over 2 million followers,” Moustafa told Euronews.
These findings point to wider shortcomings of Facebook to effectively moderate non-English languages as explored in the report Under-Moderated, Unhinged and Ubiquitous: Al-Shabaab and the Islamic State Networks on Facebook .
Throughout his research on online guns sales, Moustafa found a user whose Facebook name in Kurdish read ‘I sell guns’.
“Conflict zones, in particular, require a different level of content moderation where hate and a range of other online harms can easily slip through automated systems of moderation,” Moustafa said.
“It’s not unreasonable to think that a lot of the on-the-ground harms to the population can be fuelled by the lack of content moderation online.”