Facebook removes racist and misogynistic posts about Kamala Harris

Some critics and advertisers are dissatisfied with Facebook's response to the rise in hateful content on the platform

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Facebook has been removing racist and misogynistic posts, memes and comments about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The 2020 election victory for President-elect Joe Biden has sparked a surge in hateful content across social media, most notably from supporters of Donald Trump.

BBC News reported to Facebook the existence of at least three anti-Harris/hate groups, some of which had between 1,200 and 4,000 members. Facebook took swift action and deleted the accounts.

Read More: Howard University women react to alum Kamala Harris’ historic win

The social media giant, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, says it flags 90% of hate speech before it’s reported. But some say this is simply not enough to curb the bigger issue that’s plaguing the popular app.

Several advocates, critics and advertisers alike have given the side-eye to Facebook’s lackluster response to the increase of racism and extremist groups on the platform. Many believe that if the media did not report about it, then Facebook would continue to ignore the disturbing trend.

“Facebook’s removal of this content only after it’s been flagged to them by the media confirms that the rules and guidelines they establish are hollow because they put little to no effort into detection and enforcement,” said Media Matters President Angelo Carusone.

“We are talking about the lowest of low-hanging fruit from a detection perspective. And yet, these escaped Facebook’s notice until flagged by a third party,” Carusone added

Anti-racism advocates have noted that hate speech often gets ignored by Facebook, and sometimes promoted.

In August, hundreds of companies protested Facebook by refusing to advertise with the company.

Read More: Facebook continues political ad ban as candidates prep for Georgia runoff

In response to Facebook’s complicity, Rishad Robinson of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign said the company has “created a set of algorithms that [sic] incentivise people to spread hate.” 

In the final report of Facebook’s civil right audit, which examined the app’s acceptance of hate speech and propaganda over the summer, found that the platform had “significant setbacks for civil rights.”

Bill Russo, one of Joe Biden’s senior aides, criticized Facebook for its poor handling of conspiracy theories, calls for violence and spread of disinformation, BBC News reports.

“Our democracy is on the line,” Russo tweeted. “We need answers.”

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