Leaked Facebook documents show how long it takes to get your post back

This content originally published Dec. 22, 2014 on CNN.com. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Facebook is notorious for being opaque when it comes to transparency and control. Many users may know that the company may…

Leaked Facebook documents show how long it takes to get your post back

This content originally published Dec. 22, 2014 on CNN.com.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Facebook is notorious for being opaque when it comes to transparency and control.

Many users may know that the company may decide to remove a post by a former boss or spouse or which post was racially offensive or did not meet its standards.

But a leaked internal company document may now shed light on the actual process of deciding whether something is actually worthy of Facebook’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

Leaked by The Intercept, the internal document shows that when a post is removed, it can be returned to your Facebook timeline within five minutes or less.

The most recent screenshot, which shows how often Facebook has determined that a post is completely removed, shows that the process happens roughly in proportion to the area where you live.

A lot of cities and states have slightly higher rates of Facebook removing posts, so you might benefit from a slightly greater rate of re-installs in your area.

The PSA shows how quickly a status update or photo may be removed in the San Francisco area (0.4 minutes for a post and 17 seconds for a photo), but it could take days to get it back. (The average number of days for removing a status update was one day, and the average for photo removal was eight days.)

That’s not exactly revelatory information, but it is interesting to know that the actual rate of removal is vastly lower than most people might think.

For example, deleted posts are removed on average in Baltimore (0.8 days), but in the greater San Francisco Bay Area (1.6 days) they take a long time to get restored.

The data also shows some measure of variation in when people lose the ability to post in the first place.

In the greater Los Angeles area, the average time to get a post back after deletion is 5.4 days. That compares to a 5.5 day average in the greater Seattle area.

On Facebook, users have more choices in how they express themselves. On other social networks, however, it is much more of a binary decision. You either post or you don’t. Post only about art or politics, or rather general topics that do not concern your business.

Some people may find this data more useful than other insights. It shows that Facebook does have a very small set of standards when it comes to what constitutes a “controversial” post that should be deleted or removed.

The data also offers a relative statistic for what amounts to vast areas of the world — in terms of perhaps the best measure of how much Facebook censors users: the average time it takes for a post to get reinstated in certain countries.

In the US, that average is closer to two days.

The average is 6.2 days in the whole world (and it grows in absolute numbers for countries in a more conservative, democratic bloc, like India, Nigeria, and Pakistan).

This is not necessarily a reflection of the types of posts censored more frequently, but rather the country’s ratio of being a liberal nation in comparison to countries like China. Facebook’s global community policy director, Frank Lowy, told the Intercept that Facebook constantly monitors and adjusts the number of people affected by posts being removed.

The Intercept’s reporting is based on a leaked internal Facebook document that was supposedly obtained by a former employee, though it may not be the same document.

This doesn’t mean that Facebook is anything but transparent, very careful, and fair. It’s just the case that we would be more interested in information on how the moderation process works than the actual rate of removing posts.

There is no mention in the leaked document of page or app publishers. In addition to Facebook’s use of AI, it can be programmed to remove content more or less frequently based on the content it finds.

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