New EU Report Finds Progress Fighting Hate Speech

By Guy Rosen, VP Integrity

We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook. Over the past few years, we’ve invested in new technologies and improved our processes to find and remove hate speech from our platform. And we produce a transparency report every six months to share our progress. Not every company does this, but we think it’s important to be transparent about how we’re doing and allow people to hold us accountable. 

We also signed the European Commission’s code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online. As part of this code of conduct, the European Commission runs regular independent tests on each company that signed on to make sure they are removing this content quickly and effectively. The fifth report was published this week, and it showed that we are reviewing reports of hate speech quicker than before, deleting more of it and doing it transparently. 

According to this independent report, Facebook assessed 95.7% and Instagram assessed 91.8% of hate speech notifications in less than 24 hours, compared to 81.5% for YouTube and 76.6% for Twitter. The European Commission also states that “only Facebook informs users systematically; all the other platforms have to make improvements.” While we recognize we have more to do, these results suggest we are moving in the right direction and have systems in place which continue to lead our industry.

Moving fast to find and remove hate speech takes significant investment in both people and technology. We have tripled the size of our teams working in safety and security since 2016 to over 35,000 people – including teams that review reports of hate speech 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Over the last two years, we’ve also invested heavily in AI technology to proactively detect hate speech in more languages, so that we can find and remove this harmful content before people report it to us, and sometimes before anyone even sees it. While these technologies are not perfect, our most recent transparency report showed that we proactively find and take down almost 90% of the hate speech we remove from Facebook before anyone reports it to us – up from 38% over the same period two years ago. 

European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova and Commissioner Didier Reynders recognized our progress in fighting hate speech on our platform, and we will continue to develop new tools and invest in technology to detect and remove it.

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