Facebook to start removing misleading posts that incite violence

Facebook to start removing misleading posts that incite violence
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Facebook said on Wednesday that it will be introducing new policy changes meant to reduce misinformation on its platform that leads to violence, amid growing concerns over the impact of the platform in countries already riven by conflict.

“There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We will begin implementing the policy during the coming months.”

When the new policy takes effect, Facebook will remove posts that are both misleading and created with the purpose of inciting violence. The company said that it would work with organizations on the ground in areas most affected by calls to violence on its platform, like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, in order to detect and remove such posts.

Facebook said that it has already implemented the policy in Sri Lanka and used it to take down posts inciting violence. The company was able to take down a post falsely claiming that Muslims were poisoning food being sold to Buddhists in the country. After verifying its potential for violence with a partner organization in the country, Facebook took the post down.

Similar Facebook posts spreading false stories about Muslims in Myanmar have spurred violence against Rohingya Muslims.

The announcement came hours after Zuckerberg took significant backlash for defending certain posts made by Holocaust deniers on Facebook in an interview with Recode.

After the interview, he said, "I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.”

Facebook has taken tremendous criticism for how its platform has played a role in exacerbating violence in countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and South Sudan. The social media platform has said that it is deeply concerned about this and is working on different policies and approaches to make its website safer in these countries.