Meta’s networking platforms enforce hate speech, report shows

Meta shared on Wednesday its latest statistics report addressing the intensity of bullying, hate speech, and harassment on its platforms, as the public’s scrutinizing vigilance centers its gaze on the social network.

The data released by the Big Tech giant’s last quarterly transparency report surfaced as Facebook’s guardian company, Meta, endures an increasingly examining scrutiny directed at its capability of safeguarding its userbase and measures taken to heighten policies’ influence.

“As a social technology company, helping people feel safe to connect and engage with others is central to what we do. But one form of abuse that has unfortunately always existed when people interact with each other is bullying and harassment,” the blog post stated.

“While this challenge isn’t unique to social people tools to protect themselves and also measure how we are doing,” it added.

The report, signified as the first time Facebook ever shares its “prevalence” metrics regarding the intensity of bullying and harassment, showcased how the social network utilized statistics to trail and measure violating content that is typically overpassed by its systems.

In reference to the giant’s report, the prevalence of bullying content ranged between 0.14 to 0.15 percent on Facebook, and 0.05 to 0.06 percent on Instagram, according to Engadget.

“This means bullying and harassment content was seen between 14 and 15 times per every 10,000 views of content on Facebook and between 5 and 6 times per 10,000 views for content on Instagram,” the post added.

Following The Wall Street Journal’s documentation around the social networking’s conduct towards its users, the Facebook Files unmasked how the social platforms had a detrimental effect on users, specifically teens.

The documents revealed that the tech titan was aware of the damaging effect on teens but barely initiated any requisite methodologies to counteract the issues emerging from its platform. The files’ outcomes highlighted Facebook’s knowledge of its impact on teens, and the effect its networking platform has on their mental well-being.

This emphasized the broad variation between how Facebook sees itself in regard to its public opinion and the actual endeavors that are being implemented on its part to reduce the disturbing impact it has on its userbase.

According to the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, the Menlo-Park-based firm is simply not capable of addressing a massive rate of hate speech on its platform, with Haugen revealing that the titan can only focus on three to five percent of hate speech. This results in most accounts being unobserved, an aspect playing a significant role in contaminating users’ News Feed.

In its defense, the company played all of its cards to derive the public’s wrath from its misconduct towards its users, and the latest prevalence report could be perceived as one of its tactics to beautify its image in the public’s eye.

Yet, one thing the social network’s own research team proved to the world is that Facebook itself is not capable of handling the ever-growing damage it caused on a societal level.

This derives from the fact that the platform’s automated systems cannot be perceived as a reliable source regarding distinguishing harmful content, such as bullying and body image issues, especially if it is not in English.

While the tech giant disclosed in its report that hate speech systematically dropped with each quarter, with prevalence decreasing from 0.5 percent in its second quarter, to 0.3 to the third one, the fact remains that this data is not sufficient compared to the mass of hate speech generated on both social platforms.

Experts believe that Meta – the new façade guardian that Facebook hopes will embellish its image – will not have enough capacity to refurbish its ecosystem to accommodate the public, alongside regulator’s needs to deliver more ethical products, without jeopardizing users well-being at the expense of enlarging its popularity, supremacy, and wealth.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Ethical Tech section to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.