Fb claims hate speech visibility dropped 50 p.c in 9 months

Jon Fingas

Fb is responding to whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony by trying to shift the narrative on hate speech. Integrity VP Man Rosen has posted a protection of the social community’s anti-hate measures the place he argued the declining visibility of hate speech mattered greater than the mere existence of that content material. The “prevalence” (aka visibility) of hate on Fb has dropped practically 50 p.c up to now three quarters to 0.05 p.c of content material seen, Rosen mentioned, or about 5 views out of each 10,000.

The manager contended it was “fallacious” to give attention to content material removals as the one metric. There have been different methods to counter hate, Rosen mentioned, and Fb needed to be “assured” earlier than it eliminated any materials. That meant erring on the aspect of warning to keep away from mistakenly eradicating content material, and limiting the attain of individuals, teams and pages that can in all probability violate insurance policies.

There’s a diploma of fact right here. Fb has often run into bother for mistakenly flagging content material as hate speech, and an aggressive elimination system may result in additional accidents. Likewise, hate will solely have restricted affect if few individuals ever see a given submit.

Nonetheless, there’s little doubt Fb is engaged in some spin. Haugen in her testimony asserted that Fb can solely catch a “very tiny minority” of offending materials — that is nonetheless a difficulty if true, even when solely a small fraction of customers ever see the fabric. Rosen’s response additionally does not contact on Haugen’s allegations that Fb resisted implementing safer algorithms and different efforts to attenuate hateful and divisive interactions. Fb could also be making vital strides in limiting hate, however that is not Haugen’s level — it is that the social media agency is not doing sufficient.

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