SELMA – How does Facebook deal with different kinds of hate speech across its global platform?
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SELMA – How does Facebook deal with different kinds of hate speech across its global platform?

– How does Facebook cope
with tackling hate speech when you consider the frequency with which language can change and all the different languages
spoken in the hundreds of different countries
where Facebook is active? And also the fact that hate speech can take so many different
forms like emojis or videos or images, not just text. How do you deal with all that? – It’s a really great question because those more than two billion people who use Facebook every month
are spread all around the world and both the ways that hate
speech manifests itself on the platform and
also the types of people who are targeted for hate speech could vary widely across the globe. We know that we’re not the
experts on these subjects so the way we tackle that is, first of all we have very,
very strong partnerships. So we regularly speak to charities, to non government
organizations, to academics, to help them teach us what is and isn’t considered hate
speech in different contexts. And that also means going to
the countries and the places where this hate speech is manifesting so that we can get views
from the ground as well. We use those expert views
to draft our policies. I’ve mentioned we have
community standards at Facebook, which are the rules of
what is and isn’t allowed on Facebook and on Instagram and we try to set those
rules as clearly as possible. You mentioned images and
emojis and, you know, slang. What we see people using
all of those types of, means of expression on the platform and our teams have to understand
those kind of nuances, not just using old fashioned terminology but regularly updating the
words that they look out for and the images that they understand might have a certain context
in order to make sure that we keep the platform as
safe as possible for our users. – On Instagram at the moment,
there’s a lot of queer pages that are posting, like,
homoerotic art and stuff that has been taken down. So to what extent do you think about what political
statements you’re making when you decide to censor
something on Facebook? – The types of communities
you were just talking about, are some of the most important
users of our platform from our perspective. Not only are they some of the people who get the most benefit out of Facebook, from being able to connect
to people like them who they wouldn’t be able to connect to in their everyday lives, they’re also some of the most vulnerable, not just online, but
also in the real world. So we think really, really seriously about how we can protect those types of groups on the platform. Because our community
standards are global, they have to be applicable
in all countries in the world and people from different
parts of the world can have very different opinions about what is and isn’t acceptable, what is and isn’t decent, what is and isn’t comedic
or funny or hurtful. So we try really hard to strike a balance between enabling people
to express themselves in the way that they tell
us is most important to them but also making sure that
Facebook and Instagram are places where people can go and
speak to their friends without encountering
stuff that upsets them. I think sometimes we don’t
get that right, certainly, and that’s why we’re always
thinking about our policies and trying to listen to the communities that use our platforms and, hopefully, as we continue to do that, we’ll get a better and better idea of how to make sure the
platforms are safe for everyone.

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