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Facebook “shadowbanning” patent

September 17, 2019


Facebook has been granted a US patent which purports to “shadowban” inappropriate comments posted on other user’s accounts.

Shadowbanning is used to describe a scenario in which flagged comments posted by a specific user are blocked or muted for everyone except the user themselves. As a result, the user is the only one who can see the flagged comments as posted, while to all other users it will appear as though the comments had never been made. Shadowbanning seeks to cover postings containing, for example, profane words and extremely negative, racist or derogatory comments.

Facebook hopes the implementation of this technology will help curb inappropriate content by eliminating the incentive for users to spam pages with comments or attempt to circumvent system filters.

This Facebook initiative is in line with Instagram’s recent anti-bullying measures, which consist of an AI-powered bullying filter capable of identifying rude comments and which will prompt a user who purports to post any such comments with the question “Are you sure you want to post this?”. These measures also include an option for users to restrict others’ access to their posts.


Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Sasha Seeber


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