Facebook nears a tipping point when it comes to moderating hate speech - 2020-06-30
On Tuesday afternoon, Facebook announced that it had removed more than 200 accounts linked to the violent, anti-government extremist "boogaloo" movement. This move comes after weeks of criticism over the company's handling of hate speech on its platform. Still, banning the boogaloo accounts does not solve Facebook's larger hate speech problem.
More than 100 major brands, from Unilever to Verizon, have pulled advertising from the platform after civil rights groups called for a boycott in the past week. Facebook's efforts to address the controversy included the announcement of increased efforts to prevent voter suppression based on race and ethnicity and a potential audit of its moderation practices.
The controversy over social media companies and hate speech has intensified in recent weeks as protesters across the US have been fighting for greater racial justice. About a month ago, as protests were first breaking out, Facebook ignited outrage when it decided not to do anything after President Trump posted a comment saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" in a post about the protests. This enraged civil rights leaders, as well as some of Facebook's employees. It also prompted the "Stop Hate for Profit" ad boycott, led by organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP. Three US senators joined the chorus on Tuesday, sending a letter to Facebook asking the company to more strictly enforce its rules on extremist content.