Software doesn't get satire : '' Those of us speaking truth to power are being caught in the net intended to capture hate speech.''

Many of the political cartoonists whose commentary was taken down by Facebook were left-leaning, in a sign of how the social network has sometimes clipped liberal voices. Conservatives have previously accused Facebook and other Internet platforms of suppressing only right-wing views.

In a statement, Facebook did not address whether it had trouble spotting satire. Instead, the company said it made room for satirical content - but only up to a point.

Posts about hate groups and extremist content, it said, are allowed only if the posts clearly condemn or neutrally discuss them, because the risk for real-world harm is otherwise too great.

Facebook struggles to moderate content across its core social network, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp have been well documented.

After Russians manipulated the platform before the 2016 presidential election by spreading ''inflammatory posts'', the company recruited thousands of third-party moderators to prevent a recurrence. It also developed sophisticated algorithms to sift through content.

Facebook also created a process so that only verified buyers could purchase political ads and instituted policies against hate speech to limit posts that contained anti-Semitic or white supremacist content.

Last year, Facebook said it had stopped more than 2.2 million political ad submissions that had not yet been verified and that had targeted U.S. users.

It also cracked down on the conspiracy group QAnon and the Proud Boys, removed vaccine misinformation and displayed warnings on more than 150 million pieces of content viewed in the United States that third-party fact checkers debunked.

But satire kept popping up as a blind spot. In 2019 and 2020, Facebook often dealt with far-right misinformation sites that used ''satire'' claims to protect their presence on the platform, Mr. Brooking said.

''At a point, I suspect Facebook got tired of this dance and adopted a more aggressive posture,'' Mr. Brooking said.

Political cartoons that appeared in non-English speaking countries contained sociopolitical humor and iron specific to certain regions also were tricky for Facebook to handle, misinformation researchers said.

That has caused fallout among many political cartoonists. One is Ed Hall in northern Florida, whose independent work regularly appears in North American and European newspapers.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2019 that he would bar two congresswomen - critics of Israel's treatment of Palestinians - from visiting the country, Mr. Hall drew a cartoon showing a sign affixed to barbed wire that read, in German, ''Jews were not welcome here.''

He added a line of text addressing Mr. Netanyahu : ''Hey Bibi, did you forget something?''

Mr. Hall said his was to draw an anology between how Mr. Netanyahu was treating the U.S. representatives and Nazi Germany. Facebook took the cartoon down shortly after it was posted, saying it violated its standards on hate speech.

The publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Mike Issac and Cade Metz.


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