Facebook Ireland campaign to target hate speech on platform

Educational video on how to spot and report hate speech to be rolled out on newsfeeds

If someone uses a ‘known derogatory word’ to describe a person based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation, it is considered hate speech, Facebook says. File photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If someone uses a ‘known derogatory word’ to describe a person based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation, it is considered hate speech, Facebook says. File photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

Facebook Ireland has launched a new campaign aimed at helping social media users understand, identify and report hate speech on the platform, the tech giant’s Dublin office has said.

The campaign, which seeks to “educate users on how to identify and report hate speech on the platform”, will be rolled out through an “educational video” across newsfeeds in Ireland this week, the company said.

The video, which answers three questions about hate speech, notes that Facebook does not allow attacks against any person or group based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. If someone uses a “known derogatory word” to describe a person based on these characteristics, that is considered hate speech, it says.

It also details how to report hate speech on the platform, explaining that users should click the three dots next to the post they want to mark as hate speech, click “report”, select “hate speech” and the applicable characteristic and confirm.

Proactive measures

Facebook Ireland said it is “taking proactive measures in its approach to tackling hate speech and has created innovative [artificial intelligence] technology designed to identify hateful content”, adding that Facebook “proactively detects about 95 per cent of hate speech content that is removed from the platform.”

Earlier this week, Facebook also announced a new measure to combat anti-Semitic hate speech, connecting Irish users with authoritative information on the Holocaust.

Dualta Ó Broin, head of public policy at Facebook Ireland, said the company had invested substantially in tools and technology to identify and remove any content that contravenes its hate speech policy.

Criminal offence

The sharing of hate speech on social media is set to become a criminal offence under Government proposals made in December to combat racism and bigotry. Under the plan, the sharing or retweeting of hateful speech on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be a crime, even if the person sharing it was not the author.

However, in 2019, Facebook petitioned the Government to be excluded from criminal liability under proposed hate speech and hate crime laws. Facebook said any amendment to the Act should “include a carve out so that intermediaries would not be subject to criminal liability for third-party content that violates the Act”.