Pinterest Hosts Inappropriate Images of Young Girls and Conspiracy Theories Despite Moderation Efforts

Back in March, Pinterest announced that the platform is introducing a ‘custom search experience’ to make sure that users get authentic information when they turn to its platform for information about the coronavirus pandemic, while recently its engendering team also boasted about their Algorithm efficiency in terms of providing better and balanced content in Home Feed of users. However, Pinterest’s moderation efforts seem to have its limits. It has been reported that the platform is hosting sexual images of young girls and white supremacist propaganda, and conspiracy theories despite its big claims.

The content discover network was praised for its proactive moderation efforts in the past, however, an OneZero investigation revealed that the platform’s moderation does not catch some abusive and false content. Numerous cases were revealed during the investigation where Pinterest’s moderation did not catch NSFW images of young girls, conspiracy theories related to 5G and QAnon, and racist material. This issue revolves around ‘loopholes’ that get past its standard search approach.

The abuse filters typically kick in on the platform itself. Users cannot search the homepage if they have not signed in to their Pinterest accounts, however, they can get around that visiting another account’s page. If a person uses the right Google searches, they can find a slew of content that filters of Pinterest would otherwise detect.

Moreover, the autocomplete as well as the suggestion system of the platform may also steer you toward racist misleading content. A Pinterest’s spokesman acknowledged to OneZero that content violating the policies of the platform would ‘sometimes appear’ in search results, even after it asked to have the material entirely removed from the platform.

OneZero’s findings underscore the risk of Pinterest’s moderation approach which hides abusive and false content instead of entirely removing it from the platform. A Pinterest spokesman stated that the company wants Pinterest to be a place for inspiration and that indicates that the company needs to be deliberate about creating a safe and positive space for people. He said that the company encourages people to report the content that should not be on the platform.

The company states that Pinterest relies on reports from users to improve its standards and proactive tools to find and remove abuse and false content.

The company’s representative also added that the company does not want Pinterest to be a ‘go-to-place’ for politics and tries to curb adversarial behavior. Pinterest also seeks advice from outside experts to improve its policies as well as enforcement.

The platform’s moderation approach contrast sharply with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Facebook and Twitter typically remove offensive material instead of hiding searches.


Photo: Getty

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