Thursday, November 26, 2020

Facebook removes racist posts against VP-elect Kamala Harris

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Facebook has removed a series of hateful and racist comments, memes and posts about US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The hate speech was narrowed down to three Facebook groups described as “dedicated to propagating racist and misogynistic smears.”

Some of the comments made on Kamala Harris include calling her not “black enough” for Democrats, and that she was not a US citizen because both her parents belong to other countries. Her name was mocked and made fun of in several memes, and the posts also demanded her to be “deported to India.” Apart from these submissions, a string of misogynistic and sexually graphic content was also taken down by Facebook.

While Facebook did remove the posts, it does not, however, plan on taking an actions on these groups personally. Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters said “Facebook’s removal of this content only after it’s been flagged to them by the media confirms that the rules and guidelines they establish are hollow because they put little to no effort into detection and enforcement.

Read more: India celebrates VP-elect Kamala Harris’ victory

“We are talking about the lowest of low-hanging fruit from a detection perspective.

“And yet, these escaped Facebook’s notice until flagged by a third party.”

Facebook rejects these claims and says it removes 90% of the hate speech before it is flagged, BBC reports.

Facebook under fire for hate speech

Previously, Facebook has been criticized on several occasions by civil-rights groups and advertisers for not putting enough efforts in minimizing hate speech on Facebook. In protest, many advertising companies stopped putting advertisements on the social media platform in August.

Hate speech and racism is not detected effectively on Facebook and even promoted in some cases, campaigners told BBC. Facebook had “created a set of algorithms that incentivize people to spread hate,” a member of Stop Hate for Profit campaign, Rishad Robinson told BBC. Facebook had made “vexing and heartbreaking decisions about hate speech” promoting “significant setbacks for civil rights,” Facebook’s civil-rights audit said in August.

Read more: Zuckerberg denies knowing about data leakage on Facebook

US president-elect Joe Biden’s deputy press secretary, Bill Russo criticized the social media platform on its inefficiency in managing conspiracy theories containing false information about the US election. In a tweet, Bill Russo stated “Our democracy is on the line.”

“We need answers.”

Ban on Holocaust denial 

On October 12, Facebook explicitly banned Holocaust denial for the first time. The social network said its new policy prohibits “any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust”. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he had “struggled with the tension” between free speech and banning such posts, but that “this is the right balance”.

PM Khan seeks ban on Islamophobia content

On October 26, Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook asking for Facebook to place a similar ban on Islamophobic content on the social media platform including the hate against Islam, similar to that which has been put in place for the Holocaust.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked Mark Zuckerberg to ban Islamophobic content on the social media platform which has been circulating amid the rising protests taking place in France after the recent beheading of a French teacher by a Muslim.

Read more: PM Imran Khan writes to Mark Zuckerberg seeking ban on Islamophobic content

Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries and provocations and incitement “in the name of free speech” while addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 75th session.  “Incidents in Europe, including republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples,” he said. The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo reprinted offensive caricatures in September that were first published in 2015.

“This assembly should declare an ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’ and build a coalition to fight this scourge – scourge that splits humanity,” he demanded.

Read more: Facebook bans BJP politician for spreading hate speech about Muslims

 

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