Facebook updates hate speech policy on ‘Jews controlling world’

Social media giant also comes in for criticism after latest Transparency Report showed an alarming rise in inflammatory content


Facebook has updated its policies on hate speech to include a new crackdown on antisemitic tropes after the social media giant’s latest Transparency Report revealed an alarming rise in inflammatory content on the platform.

New figures taking in the period April to June 2020 showed that Facebook was forced to take action on content relating to hate speech in 22.5 million instances - an increase on the 9.6 million from the previous quarter.

The dramatic increase was put down to new technology which allows the detection of problematic material in more languages, including Spanish, Arabic and Indonesian.

In the latest report, Facebook confirms the company - which also owns Instagram - has now "updated our policies to more specifically account for certain types of implicit hate speech such as content depicting blackface or stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world".

Facebook on Tuesday reported progress in catching abusive content on the platform, including antiemitism, saying their proactive detection rate" rose six percent to 95 percent.

Automated detection of hate speech at Instagram increased to 84 percent with the Instagram, as the social network took action on a total of 3.3 million pieces of content in the second quarter, according to the report.

In response to Facebook's latest  report, Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said: "These figures suggest that hate speech is exploding on Facebook. We have been warning for some time that a major pandemic event has the potential to inflame xenophobia and racism.

"Hidden in this report is the fact that Facebook has reduced its human reviewing capacity, weakening enforcement action on vile materials relating to suicide, self-injury and child sexual exploitation.

"Facebook always underinvest in human review, instead prioritising shareholder profits that have made Mark Zuckerberg the world's newest centibillionaire. 

"They will continue to do so until they are forced either by advertisers - who give them 98 per cent of their revenue - or, as a backstop, legislators and regulators, who can impose fines and criminal charges for non-compliance with their statutory duty of care to users."

But Facebook's decision to update its policies on the posting of hate speech to include tropes around Jewish power was welcomed by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S Lauder.

He said his organisation had worked closely with the social media giant, which also owns Instagram, to "encourage the platform to remove harmful content including stereotypes as a form of hate speech".

Mr Lauder said the company had "taken an important step towards eliminating antisemitism".




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