Tags: facebook | hate | speech | policed

Facebook Hate Speech To Be Policed, Social Network Pledges

Thursday, 30 May 2013 09:17 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Facebook pledged Tuesday to do a better job of detecting and removing hate speech after facing mounting pressure from feminist groups that want the social networking site to ban pages that glorify violence against women.

Women, Action & the Media, a coalition of feminist groups, took aim at Facebook last week and complained that pages that had been flagged as offensive were still visible. Some of the pages mentioned included "Kicking Your Girlfriend in the Fanny Because She Won't Make You a Sandwich," "Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs," "Raping Your Girlfriend," and "Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus." Searches for these pages turned up no results as of Wednesday.

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"It is because Facebook has committed to having policies to address these issues that we felt it was necessary to take these actions and press for that commitment to fully recognize how the real world safety gap experienced by women globally is dynamically related to our online lives," Soraya Chemaly, who helped spearhead the effort, wrote on the Women, Action & the Media website last week.

Facebook responded Tuesday with a statement on its site.

"In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate," Marne Levine, a Facebook vice president in charge of public policy, wrote. "In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want. In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better — and we will."

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The social media giant has promised to update training for team members who police hate speech, update the guidelines used to identify hate speech, and require members who create public pages to attach their personal accounts to them, among other things.

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