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For Immediate Release: November 19, 2020
Color Of Change: Facebook’s New Disclosure of Hate Speech Prevalence Lacks Adequate Context
NATIONWIDE — In response to Facebook’s newly-released quarterly transparency report, which for the first time includes public disclosure of data on the prevalence of hate speech on the platform, Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson issued the following statement:
“Color Of Change welcomes Facebook’s decision to disclose data on hate speech prevalence on its platform, as transparency and metrics are essential in the fight to tackle online hate speech on a systemic level. But despite this new public display, the company has once again failed to provide adequate context to put their findings into perspective, and continue to lag on addressing misinformation. Facebook claims that, based on its own research and estimation, ‘from July 2020 to September 2020 […] out of every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, 10 to 11 of them included hate speech.’ However, they do not disclose how many total pieces of content an average user sees daily. If the average user is exposed to 100 pieces of content a day, then at least once every 10 days they are seeing hate speech — a wildly unacceptable figure. Based on Facebook’s poor track record of adequately interpreting and enforcing hate speech policies, civil rights advocates may rightly question if the data is underreporting the amount of hate speech users are exposed to. Facebook must allow racial justice, civil rights, and tech accountability groups to regularly review the training materials and guidance they provide content moderators who produce this data.
However unclear Facebook’s data disclosures are, two facts remain consistent: Facebook is incapable of self-regulating — which is why the government needs to enact stronger oversight and tech policies — and the company has failed to implement a permanent civil rights infrastructure, starting with hiring qualified experts. The company did implement a civil rights audit after years of pressure from Color Of Change, but they have yet to hire an expert in the growth and development of white nationalist and militia groups. Facebook’s claim that it has ‘taken steps to combat white nationalism and white separatism’ rings hollow. Until Facebook commits to enacting structural change and working more closely with advocacy groups and experts, the new disclosure around hate speech acts more as a public relations move rather than a meaningful step towards protecting Black people from the harms the company enables.”
About Color Of Change:
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.