Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Facebook cracking down on hate speech

After protests from various activist groups, Facebook has rolled out a new policy on hate speech.

In a post on Facebook, Marne Levine, vice president of Global Public Policy, made the announcement that began:
Recently there has been some attention given to Facebook’s content policy. The current concern, voiced by Women, Action and The Media, The Everyday Sexism Project, and the coalition they represent, has focused on content that targets women with images and content that threatens or incites gender-based violence or hate.

Many different groups which have historically faced discrimination in society, including representatives from the Jewish, Muslim, and LGBT communities, have reached out to us in the past to help us understand the threatening nature of content, and we are grateful for the thoughtful and constructive feedback we have received. In light of this recent attention, we want to take this opportunity to explain our philosophy and policies regarding controversial or harmful content, including hate speech, and to explain some of the steps we are taking to reduce the proliferation of content that could create an unsafe environment for users.

Facebook’s mission has always been to make the world more open and connected. We seek to provide a platform where people can share and surface content, messages and ideas freely, while still respecting the rights of others. When people can engage in meaningful conversations and exchanges with their friends, family and communities online, amazingly positive things can happen.
There followed a number of steps that Facebook hopes will prevent further issues as they noted they are constantly working to balance open communication with protection of users.

Hundreds of comments left on the post ranged from praise to criticism as commenters debated the pros and cons of the new policy.

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