“This has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” says Aro. “This is not normal political discussion. Saying, ‘Jessikka is a crack whore who needs to be killed’ is a crime in many different countries.”
Confident, passionate and highly articulate, Aro speaks fluent English and Russian. She has tried reporting her abusers to Facebook and YouTube, but mostly receives an automated reply saying that they haven’t violated community standards. The reality of moderating, she argues, can be too complex for an algorithm, and requires human brains. “In fact, some of this content violates both their own community standards and Finnish legislation. By not removing it, they are enabling state-sponsored Russian troll operations.”
She accuses the companies of putting profit before anything else. Facebook has even profited from the trolls, she claims, because they pay for visibility and sponsored posts to attack her.
“Their moderation and security guarantee goes against their business model, basically. But if they’re going to do business in our countries, if they’re going to take our data and use it to make money, then they should also take some responsibility. It’s wrong, and illegal, to send death threats to anyone. They should have put an end to this years ago, but it’s still going on. They don’t seem interested in investigating it voluntarily, unless the US Senate or special counsel Robert Mueller demands that they do.”
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After exposing a Russian ‘troll factory’, Jessikka Aro was so vilified that she fled Finland in fear of her life. Yet she refuses to stop reporting https://t.co/rOKH4KMxtr
— The Times of London (@thetimes) May 29, 2019