Story at a glance

  • Over the third quarter, Facebook says it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content from its namesake platform and 6.5 million pieces from Instagram.
  • Of the hate speech content the site took action on, 95 percent was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence without a user reporting it.
  • That’s a significant increase when compared to 2017, when the proactive detection rate of the AI was just 23.6 percent.

Facebook says it’s proactively detecting and removing more hate speech using artificial intelligence. 

The social media giant said in its quarterly Community Standards Enforcement report that from July through September 10 to 11 content views out of every 10,000 on the platform included hate speech. This is the first time Facebook has estimated the prevalence of hate speech on its platform. 


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The company defines hate speech as anything that directly attacks people based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity or disability. 

Over the third quarter, Facebook says it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content from its namesake platform and 6.5 million pieces from Instagram. Taking action means Facebook either removed content, covered it with a warning, disabled accounts or escalated to external agencies. 

Of the hate speech content the site took action on, 95 percent was proactively identified and stopped by artificial intelligence (AI) without a user reporting it. That’s a significant increase when compared to 2017, when the proactive detection rate of the AI was just 23.6 percent. Facebook employs 35,000 contractors as content reviews to review and remove content the AI systems miss. 

“Due to our investments in AI, we have been able to remove more hate speech and find more of it proactively before users report it to us,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s head of safety and integrity,” said in a post. “Our enforcement metrics this quarter, including how much hate speech content we found proactively and how much content we took action on, indicate that we’re making progress catching harmful content.” 

Facebook has made changes to its content removal policies as the company’s faced increasing pressure. After years of criticism, the social media site last month banned any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust. The company also recently banned all accounts, pages and groups representing the fringe conspiracy theory QAnon.


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Published on Nov 19, 2020