Facebook has responded to the current advertiser walkout, reaffirming it “does not profit from hate”.
Company VP of global affairs and communications Nick Clegg [feature image] – who previously served as the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under David Cameron – outlined the current complexities facing the social network.
“Facebook has come in for much criticism in recent weeks following its decision to allow controversial posts by President Trump to stay up, and misgivings on the part of many people, including companies that advertise on our platform, about our approach to tackling hate speech.
“I want to be unambiguous: Facebook does not profit from hate.
“Billions of people use Facebook and Instagram because they have good experiences — they don’t want to see hateful content, our advertisers don’t want to see it, and we don’t want to see it. There is no incentive for us to do anything but remove it.”
The advertiser boycott has so far seen the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks, Unilever and Diageo pause advertising across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in response to what they believe to be poor handling of hate speech.
The boycott has been dubbed the #StopHateforProfit campaign.
Clegg outlined the current tools in place to help Facebook filter out such hate speech.
Facebook does not benefit from hate. My latest thoughts on how Facebook is getting better at removing hate speech. https://t.co/vRK9Rbgbm3
— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) July 1, 2020
“Unfortunately, zero tolerance doesn’t mean zero incidences. With so much content posted every day, rooting out the hate is like looking for a needle in a haystack. We invest billions of dollars each year in people and technology to keep our platform safe.
“We have tripled — to more than 35,000 — the people working on safety and security. We’re a pioneer in artificial intelligence technology to remove hateful content at scale.”
Clegg pointed to a recent European Commission report that found Facebook assessed 95.7 per cent of hate speech reports in less than 24 hours and suggested the platform is able to detect 90 per cent of hate speech before someone reports it.
But it seems the focal point of Facebook’s response to the advertiser boycott will be a mass voting campaign ahead of the upcoming US Presidential election.
This week every Facebook user of voting age in the US will be given information on their News Feed to register to vote.
“We understand that many of our critics are angry about the inflammatory rhetoric President Trump has posted on our platform and others, and want us to be more aggressive in removing his speech,” Clegg said.
“As a former politician myself, I know that the only way to hold the powerful to account is ultimately through the ballot box.”
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