We believe Facebook is one of this century’s most important communications tools not only in the United States but globally. We believe Facebook Inc has a social responsibility to run the Facebook platform is fair and transparent manner. We commend Facebook for prohibiting Hate Speech in its terms of service, but feel this does not go far enough. We also believe that the current provisions against hate speech are not seriously or effectively enforced.
We call on Facebook to:
1. Revert back to the old rule under which ‘hateful speech’ was prohibited rather than ‘hate speech’. This captures a far wider variety of hate, and Facebook should not allow the use of its platform as a channel for hate against any individual or group.
2. Have a person properly review the first complaint about any content. Algorithms for identifying hate are fine when they are identifying hate in the system themselves, but if a person takes the time to make a report, Facebook must take sufficient staff time to properly consider it.
3. Be transparent about the way complaints are reviewed. If a large volume of complaints are made about the same content in a relatively short period of time, then it is fair for a certain number of those to be logged without reviewing the content again, however:
a) Users must be told this is what happen to their report
b) A sufficient number of complaints should trigger a fresh assessment by a different reviewer or manager
c) Additional fresh assessments should occur periodically (based on elapsed time or volume of complaints) and at each point of escalation a more senior Facebook staff member should review the reports.
d) It should be possible for a sufficiently serious complaint (relative to other complaints) to rise all the way up to the CEO and board for final determination if it is not upheld earlier and keeps being reported by a significant number of users.
4. Improve quality control of the complaints process. Facebook should conduct random audits of complaints and publically report on the percent of complaints that on further review are reassessed. Facebook should also set an expected quality of service for complaint handling and take steps to address the problem when the quality drops below this threshold. We believe there is an extreme bias in favour of rejecting complaints.
5. Work with local NGOs that focus on hate speech in each of the countries in which Facebook has users. Most of Facebook’s audience (approximately 83%) is outside the United States and the language of hate speech differs country by country. In order to effectively implement its prohibition of hate speech, Facebook needs to directly work with, and learn from, local organisations around the world who counter hate speech. Facebook should also run a more open consultation on policy matters and invite these organisations to participate.
6. Recognise Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech. Facebook’s continued refusal to acknowledge Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech is a disgrace that must be fixed. This issue will not go away until Facebook fixes it.
This call for change was developed by Dr Andre Oboler of the Online Hate Prevention Institute and Michael Mendelson of the 14 October protest organising committee. Individuals can show their support by signing this petition and joinging the protest. Organisations can endorse this call for change by e-mailing Michael Mendelson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Hate Prevention Institute started this petition with a single signature, and now has 784 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.