Facebook removed over 22 million hate speech posts in 2nd quarter

The number of post removed quadruples the statistics from this same time last year

In this photo illustration the Social networking site Facebook. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The social media giant, Facebook, has announced that it removed more than 22.5 million posts that violated its rule against hate speech during the second quarter.

That number is more than double the number from 2020’s first quarter. It is also more than four times the amount of posts removed from the same period in 2019. 

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Facebook’s other popular sharing site, Instagram, also experienced an increase in the removal of hate speech violations. More than 3.3 million posts were removed in the second quarter compared to 800,000 in the previous quarter. 

The company’s Community Standards Report, which was recently released, defines hate speech. 

“We define hate speech as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, calls for exclusion or segregation based on protected characteristics, or slurs. These characteristics include race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease.”

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The company says that it “gives people the option to appeal our decisions, except in cases with extreme safety concerns. We restore content we incorrectly removed or when circumstances change, both when it is appealed and when we identify issues ourselves.”

In late June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new policies that would block a “wider category of hateful content.” 

It added categories such as: mocking the concept, events, or victims of hate crimes even if no real person is depicted in an image. Designated dehumanizing comparisons, generalizations, or behavioral statements. It also now blocks generalizations that state inferiority (in written or visual form). 

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The new protocols largely account for the increase. 

“The change was largely driven by the increase in proactive detection as driven through the technology that we have been working on,” Facebook VP of Integrity, Guy Rosen, told reporters,

The changes were hard-fought. In July, the #StopHateForProfit civil rights campaign urged companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook to protest the platform’s handling of hate speech and misinformation. More than 1,000 companies participated. 

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