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Facebook Brings New Measures to Curb the Spread of Hate Speech on its Platform

This is similar to a change Facebook made to WhatsApp earlier this year to reduce forwarded messages around the world

FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

After facing flak for the spread of hate speech on its platform in countries experiencing conflict, Facebook has introduced new measures to remove content and accounts that violate its policies and limit the number of forwards on Facebook Messenger in some places.

In Myanmar, Facebook has started to reduce the distribution of all content shared by people who have demonstrated a pattern of posting content that violates its Community Standards.

If it proves successful in mitigating harm, Facebook may roll out this method in other countries as well, the social networking giant said in a statement on Thursday.

“In cases where individuals or organisations more directly promote or engage violence, we will ban them under our policy against dangerous individuals and organisations,” said Facebook’s Samidh Chakrabarti, Director of Product Management, Civic Integrity; and Rosa Birch, Director of Strategic Response.

“Reducing distribution of content is, however, another lever we can pull to combat the spread of hateful content and activity,” the social networking giant said.

Facebook said it is also making fundamental changes to its products to address virality and reduce the spread of content that can amplify and exacerbate violence and conflict.

“In Sri Lanka, we have explored adding friction to message forwarding so that people can only share a message with a certain number of chat threads on Facebook Messenger,” Chakrabarti and Birch wrote.

facebook, personal data
FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

This is similar to a change Facebook made to WhatsApp earlier this year to reduce forwarded messages around the world.

Facebook said it constituted a dedicated team to proactively prevent the abuse of its platform and protect vulnerable groups in future instances of conflict around the world.

The team is focusing on three key areas: removing content and accounts that violate its Community Standards, reducing the spread of borderline content that has the potential to amplify and exacerbate tensions and informing people about the products and the Internet at large.

“To address content that may lead to offline violence, our team is particularly focused on combating hate speech and misinformation,” Chakrabarti and Birch wrote.

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Facebook said it has also extended the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognise posts that may contain graphic violence and comments that are potentially violent or dehumanising, so we can reduce their distribution while they undergo a review by our Community Operations team.

“If this content violates our policies, we will remove it. By limiting visibility in this way, we hope to mitigate against the risk of offline harm and violence,” it added. (IANS)

Next Story

US Lawmakers Call Facebook’s Digital Coin Libra as ‘Delusional’

Under Facebook subsidiary Calibra, the social networking giant has planned to introduce a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available on Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app and is expected to be launched in 2020

Facebook, Libra, Bitcoin
Bitcoin, which has risen in value for eight consecutive days, received a boost after Facebook has said it would offer its own cryptocurrency, the Libra coin by end of June 2020. Pixabay

The US lawmakers attacked Facebook’s upcoming digital cryptocurrency Libra at a Senate hearing here, calling it “delusional” and “dangerous” and directing the social networking giant to clean up its house first before launching a new business model.

David Marcus, Head of Facebook subsidiary Calibra, was grilled at the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, reports Tech Crunch.

Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown who began the hearing blasted Facebook, saying it was “delusional” to think people would trust it with their hard-earned money.

“We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts,” said Brown, adding that “like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over and called every arson a learning experience.

Republican Senator Martha McSally echoed his views: “Instead of cleaning up your house, you are launching a new business model.”

Marcus said Facebook “will only build its own Calibra cryptocurrency wallet into Messenger and WhatsApp”.

Marcus told lawmakers that Libra – controlled by a non-profit called the Libra Association — will comply with all US regulations and unless all concerns are answered, would not be launched.

Earlier on Monday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was “uncomfortable” with Libra. US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has also raised “serious concern” over Libra.

Facebook, Financial, Lawmakers
FILE – Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

Marcus, in a prepared testimony, said the Libra Association would be regulated by the Swiss government because that’s where it’s headquartered.

“The Libra Association expects that it will be licensed, regulated, and subject to supervisory oversight. Because the Association is headquartered in Geneva, it will be supervised by the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA),” Marcus wrote.

US President Donald Trump last week tweeted that he is not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.

“Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behaviour, including drug trade and other illegal activity,” Trump said.

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“Similarly, Facebook Libra’s avirtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National and International.

“We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than evera It is called the United States Dollar!” he further tweeted.

Facebook has said it is not going to launch its digital coin Libra unless regulators are fully satisfied and all necessary approvals are in place.

Under Facebook subsidiary Calibra, the social networking giant has planned to introduce a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available on Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app and is expected to be launched in 2020. (IANS)