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How does Facebook decide what is and isn’t hate speech?

February 27, 2019
How does Facebook decide what is and isn’t hate speech?

Dr Erin Saltman talks about Facebook’s policy to deal with hate speech

Dr Erin Saltman answering a question on privacy and Facebook. Photo: Courtesy ICMCPK/ Twitter

The people at Facebook are required to debate and analyse whether a post is just offensive humour or hate speech.

Facebook’s Dr Erin Saltman spoke about the social media site’s policy to counter hate speech. “The first thing we focused on was defining what the meaning is of hate speech.”

For the company, hate speech is any comment targeting someone’s race, religion, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and nation origin, she said while addressing a session at the First International Conference on Media and Conflict on Wednesday.

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“We have more than two billion users who share a billion pictures every day. To provide a safe space, the company has set community standards,” she said, adding that it was basically a more human and less legal way of telling people about their standards.  

Dr Saltman said that sometimes the content is acceptable in one country and not in another. Violent organisations cannot have presence on the site, she said. “No one can support those organisations.”

People are not allowed to celebrate or promote graphic violence either, she added.    

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