August 17, 2022 | Euronews

Online gun sales point to further language moderation failures by Facebook

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.”