Facebook claims that it took down 40% more terrorism related content in Q2 2020 than the first quarter, as it continues to get pushback for turning a blind eye to hate speech on its platform.
The company took down 8.7 million pieces of such content, up from 6.3 million in the first quarter. These includes posts from non state actors that engage in, or advocate for violence to achieve political, religious or ideological aims, something the Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of not acting upon. However, this new report may give a new light to the allegations placed against the 100-billionaire.
For the “organized hate groups,” Facebook took down 4 million posts, which is actually down from 4.7 million last quarter. Thus, the company’s main app saw an increase in terrorist content, but a decline in organised hate speech.
Things on Instagram-another Facebook owned platform, were actually in the reverse order, as the company took down more organised hate speech than terrorist content, as compared to Q1. Number of terrorism related posts that were taken down reduced from 440,600 in the first quarter to about 388,800 in this one. On the other hand, about 266,000 posts were taken down that constituted organised hate speech, up from 175,100 in the previous quarter.
2020, and especially the 2nd quarter, have been very eventful for the company, which has not only managed to get into itself legal trouble over monopolistic practices, but also earned some bad faith from the business world. While on one hand, it was accused by members of the Congress for being discriminatory to Conservatives, on the other hand, activist groups think that the platform is not doing enough.
The rhetoric against Facebook’s inactivity has caused the company to double its efforts, which has set its target at white supremacist groups. The company says that since October of last year, it has completed 14 network takedowns to remove 23 organizations in violation of Facebook’s policies. Out of these, the majority (9) have been from “hate and/or white supremacist groups,” including the KKK, the Proud Boys, Blood & Honour and Atomwaffen, the company said. If that was not enough, the company is also putting these groups on its list of dangerous organizations, a spot that has been reserved for organisations like al Qaeda.
Moreover, the company also took down an ad from President Trump’s reelection campaign, saying that it “does not permit symbols of hateful ideology unless they are put up with context or condemnation”. The ad in question featured an upside-down red triangle, a symbol once used by the nazis to designate political prisoners in concentration camps such as Auschwitz. The text on these adds asked Facebook users to sign a petition against Antifa.
However, on the other hand, the company received a lot of flak for not taking down Trump’s controversial “the looting starts, the shooting starts,” post, which escalated to an ad ban against the platform. This new announcement might help repair some of the damage that has been caused to the company’s image, but only time can tell what is in store for Facebook.