In the wake of the horrific massacre of 50 innocent lives recently in Christchurch, Facebook has stepped up combative measures of eradicating Hate speech and White Nationalism from the platform.
In an email to advertisers recently, Facebook reps around the world sent the following email to advise what steps would be taken by the social media giant.
There has been a lot of press on the Facebook Live product and hate speech in social media in the wake of the tragic mass shootings in New Zealand. As part of this, I know we have been sharing these updates, but I wanted to provide a comprehensive overview and more insight into the tremendous amount of work happening behind the scenes.
We are taking this incredibly seriously and doing everything we can to stop the spread of content that shows or glorifies this horrendous act. First and foremost, we are continuing to provide on-the-ground support to New Zealand law enforcement as they investigate and respond. Other immediate steps we took include removing the attacker from Facebook and Instagram, banning any praise or support of him or the attack, using brand new audio-matching technology to stop the spread of videos from the attack, examining how we can react faster to this type of violence in live video, and providing support to four well-being and mental health organizations.
We’re also working on a range of policy and technical initiatives to continue to improve the safety of our products, including further investments in image matching technology; faster identification and action on hate speech and expanding our industry collaboration with the Global Internet Forum to Counterterrorism (GIFCT) to prevent the spread of hateful content across our platforms. We will continue to evaluate improvements we can make to Live itself, including the most effective policy and technical changes. You can find more information about what we’ve done so far on our Newsroom here and here.
Ban on praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism
Today we also announced a ban on praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism on Facebook and Instagram, which we’ll start enforcing next week. It’s clear that these concepts are deeply linked to organized hate groups and have no place on our services.
Our policies have long prohibited hateful treatment of people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion – and that has always included white supremacy. We didn’t originally apply the same rationale to expressions of white nationalism and separatism because we were thinking about broader concepts of nationalism and separatism – things like American pride and Basque separatism, which are an important part of people’s identity. But as we’ve had conversations with members of civil society and academics who are experts in race relations around the world, we’ve determined that white nationalism and separatism cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups.
So, going forward, while people will still be able to demonstrate pride in their ethnic heritage, we will not tolerate praise or support for white nationalism and separatism. You can learn more here.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to game our systems to spread hate. Our challenge is to stay ahead by continuing to improve our technologies, evolve our policies and work with experts who can bolster our own efforts. We are deeply committed to continuing to do so, and I will personally continue to share updates with you regularly.
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