There will be hate on Facebook if there is hatred in the world


Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2013. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Justin Sullivan | fake pictures

UK Facebook chief Steve Hatch said Tuesday “when there is hate in the world, there will also be hate on Facebook” as companies continue to boycott the platform due to continued concerns about hate speech.

Patagonia, Ford, Adidas, HP, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Starbucks are just some of the companies that have joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign and have withdrawn their Facebook advertising. The campaign argues that Facebook is not doing enough to remove divisive, racist and hateful content.

Hatch, who is also vice president of Facebook for Northern Europe and director of the UK and Ireland, said the company is doing its best to address hate speech on its platform.

“We have been working in this area for many years and we are actually investing millions in equipment and systems to improve,” he told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program.

“If you look especially at the area of ​​hate speech … our systems now detect and remove 90% automatically. Now that’s not perfect, but we know it increased 23% a couple of years ago.”

However, on June 4, the number one Facebook post was allegedly a video claiming that George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by police, was a “horrible human being” and that “police brutality on grounds racial is a myth. ” The video received 24 million views in 19 hours.

White House member Ben Rhodes said on Twitter in early June: “Facebook benefits from an algorithm that highlights hate. The worse it gets for us, the better for them. Their business model is the destruction of the social cohesion”.

Hatch said “I couldn’t disagree more” before adding “there is no profit on content that is hateful.”

“There are 3 billion people worldwide who use our platforms … tens of billions of messages and posts are exchanged,” said Hatch. “Now, of course, there is a small minority of those who are hateful and that is because as much as we do the best we can, and there is always more that we can and will do, but when there is hatred in the world there will also be hate on Facebook.” .

Despite the admission, Hatch added, “There is no tolerance on our platform for hate speech.”

Earlier this month, Joanna Hoffman, Steve Jobs’ former right-wing woman, criticized Facebook’s leadership for not being responsible for some of the ill effects the social media platform has had on society.

While Hoffman said he had “enormous respect” for what Facebook had accomplished, he suggested that certain aspects of the social media giant were “destroying the very fabric of democracy, destroying the very fabric of human relations and selling a drug. addictive called anger. ”

Paul Barrett, deputy director of the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Tuesday that Facebook’s hate speech problem is the result of its scale. He said that even if Facebook has the best artificial intelligence systems, the company still won’t catch everything.

“I think we are in for a long season of disinformation, hate speech and other nasty things online,” he said.

Facebook launched a new ad campaign of its own on Tuesday, which is designed to help people spot fake news online and decide what to trust. The announcements, to be launched next month, will encourage people to ask three questions about what they see online: where is it from? What is missing How did you feel?

“Systems are not the only answer,” said Hatch. “It is about combining the forces that Facebook has with the community on Facebook and that is why we are launching this campaign. If you are not sure, do not share.”

CNBC’s Vicky McKeever contributed to this article.

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