Multiple groups dedicated to the homemade manufacture of face masks to donate to healthcare workers have reported that Facebook has been closing the groups they use to publicize their work.
The social network indicated that it was an error caused by…of course – algorithms.
The COVID-19 outbreak has created a critical situation with medical supplies. Basic accessories such as face masks have become luxury goods that are scarce in all health centers.
Neither pharmacies or markets have been exempt from desperate purchases by citizens.
The situation could worsen in the coming days due to the announcement by the Center For Disease Control (CDC), who suggested that everyone who must leave their home do so using a face mask, especially in areas where it is impossible to maintain social distance.
Those with surplus masks have seen a unique business opportunity in the pandemic, selling them online at exorbitant prices.
The scams have been so alarming that the web pages where the sale and exchange of goods are allowed have had to implement automated mechanisms that detect and prohibit speculation with masks.
Facebook has been among the first to implement the system, but recent reports confirmed that its AI has failed to determine whether it is an illegal sale or a humanitarian act.
In an article published in the New York Times, it was echoed that Facebook was blocking groups that were dedicated to the homemade manufacture of face masks for their later donation to the health centers.
The complaint was made by organizations whose pages have been closed only because they are related to the face masks, even though they are not selling them. Among them, a page that already had more than 3,500 collaborators stands out.
A Facebook representative told Reclaim The Net that the entire censorship situation has been an error.
“The automated systems we set up to prevent the sale of medical masks needed by health workers have inadvertently blocked some efforts to donate supplies,” Facebook said in a statement. “We apologize for this error and are working to update our systems to avoid mistakes like this going forward. We don’t want to put obstacles in the way of people doing a good thing.”
The representative apologized to the entire community and reported that the social network is already working to improve the algorithm so that it does not represent an obstacle for face mask donations.