Facebook platform still rife with hate speech and fake news?

Facebook is once again facing harsh criticism due to its lack of actions in fighting hate speech and fake news on its platform.

Critics have noted that Facebook allows hate speech and fake news to run rampant on its platform. Many believe that this misinformation has played a crucial role during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Since then, the company has promised to make necessary changes to prevent this from happening.

As part of its effort, the social media company tapped the services of third-party fact-checkers in 2019. However, these fact-checkers were only formed in certain countries and regions, and not through the entire platform. One of the firms hired by the company is StopFake, which is based in Ukraine, as reported by Forbes

The credibility of fact-checkers

All fact-checkers are required to sign an agreement set by the International Fact-Checking Network. One of the policies under this agreement for fact-checkers to be non-partisan. Moreover, fact-checkers are also required to use the same standards in checking their facts.

Recently, the credibility of StopFake was questioned after one of its members was seen meeting with a white nationalist. There are also reports claiming that the firm’s director has close connections with some far-right leaders.

These fact-checkers play a vital role in moderating what information will be allowed on the platform. Hence, these firms have the power to shape opinion in a particular country or region.

While most fact-checking firms follow the rules set by the International Fact-Checking Network, there are some exceptions. To remedy this, Facebook introduced a program in June wherein users themselves can fact-check information on the platform. Despite these efforts, many critics said that the program might have been too late already.

Commercial repercussions

The lack of content moderation and actions towards it have led many advertisers to flee Facebook. Advertisers are now pulling their ads on the platform in an attempt to force the company to make drastic changes.

Some critics have said that Facebook is monetizing hate speech. For this reason, people and companies joined the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign. Recently, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg had a meeting with various civil rights groups.

Establishing a network of fact-checkers is a great start for Facebook in its bid to clean its platform. Nevertheless, some critics have noted that the company should have does this much earlier. Hate speech and fake news is now deeply embedded on the platform due to its lack of actions.

Featured image courtesy of Thaspol Sangsee/Shutterstock

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