Facebook said Thursday it had removed more than a billion fake accounts and taken action against millions of posts, photos and other forms of content that violated its prohibition against hate speech, terrorist propaganda and child exploitation, the latest sign that the social-networking giant faces an onslaught of online abuse as it builds new tools to spot it.
The report shows that Facebook still struggles to identify hate speech and bullying, in particular, even at a time when social media companies are grappling with the rising tide of racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content online and the United States is experiencing a rise in hate crimes.
Facebook says it’s better at detecting rule violations
Facebook said it’s making progress on detecting hate speech, graphic violence and other violations of its rules, even before users see and report them.
Facebook said that during the April-to-September period, it doubled the amount of hate speech it detected proactively, compared with the previous six months.
Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook as Furor Over Its Tactics Grows
On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive and chairman, held a conference call with reporters to discuss how the social network manages problematic posts and its community standards.
The call quickly went sideways. For more than an hour, the 34-year-old billionaire instead fielded questions about how he and his No. 2, Sheryl Sandberg, obfuscated problems such as Russian interference on Facebook and how the company had gone on the attack against rivals and critics. In response, Mr. Zuckerberg — at times defiant and at times conciliatory — defended the social network, Ms. Sandberg and his own record.
‘No Morals’: Advertisers React to Facebook Report
Advertisers are the financial engine of Facebook, but lately the relationship had gotten rocky.
It got rockier on Thursday.
Several top marketers were openly critical of the tech giant, a day after The New York Times published an investigation detailing how Facebook’s top executives — Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg — made the company’s growth a priority while ignoring and hiding warning signs over how its data and power were being exploited to disrupt elections and spread toxic content. The article also spotlighted a lobbying campaign overseen by Ms. Sandberg, who also oversees advertising, that sought to shift public anger to Facebook’s critics and rival tech firms.
‘Alarming’: Soros calls for investigation of Facebook after report of a smear campaign
Liberal philanthropist George Soros has called on Facebook to initiate an independent, internal investigation of its lobbying and public relations work.
The call comes after the New York Times published a report claiming the company had hired an opposition research firm to discredit critics by linking them to Soros, a frequent target of conservatives and anti-Semitic vitriol from the far right.
Facebook defends Russia response, updates plan to curb misbehavior
Facebook Inc Chairman and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended his response to Russian election meddling on the world's largest social media network and issued a new plan aimed at stifling misbehavior while maintaining a vibrant hub for online speech.