Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

In this April 14, 2020 file photo, the thumbs up Like logo is shown on a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

The Associated Press

Facebook Inc for the first time on Thursday disclosed numbers on the prevalence of hate speech on its platform, saying that out of every 10,000 content views in the third quarter, 10 to 11 included hate speech.

The world’s largest social media company, under scrutiny over its policing of abuses, particularly around November’s U.S. presidential election, released the estimate in its quarterly content moderation report.

Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content in the third quarter, about 95% of which was pro-actively identified, compared to 22.5 million in the previous quarter.

Story continues below advertisement

The company defines ‘taking action’ as removing content, covering it with a warning, disabling accounts, or escalating it to external agencies.

This summer, civil rights groups organized a widespread advertising boycott to try to pressure Facebook to act against hate speech.

The company agreed to disclose the hate speech metric, calculated by examining a representative sample of content seen on Facebook, and submit itself to an independent audit of its enforcement record.

On a call with reporters, Facebook’s head of safety and integrity Guy Rosen said the audit would be completed “over the course of 2021.”

The Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups behind the boycott, said Facebook’s new metric still lacked sufficient context for a full assessment of its performance.

“We still don’t know from this report exactly how many pieces of content users are flagging to Facebook – whether or not action was taken,” said ADL spokesman Todd Gutnick. That data matters, he said, as “there are many forms of hate speech that are not being removed, even after they’re flagged.”

Rivals Twitter and YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, do not disclose comparable prevalence metrics.

Story continues below advertisement

Facebook’s Rosen also said that from March 1 to the Nov. 3 election, the company removed more than 265,000 pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram in the United States for violating its voter interference policies.

In October, Facebook said it was updating its hate speech policy to ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, a turnaround from public comments Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had made about what should be allowed.

Facebook said it took action on 19.2 million pieces of violent and graphic content in the third quarter, up from 15 million in the second. On Instagram, it took action on 4.1 million pieces of violent and graphic content.

Earlier this week, Zuckerberg and Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey were grilled by Congress on their companies’ content moderation practices, from Republican allegations of political bias to decisions about violent speech.

Last week, Reuters reported that Zuckerberg told an all-staff meeting that former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon had not violated enough of the company’s policies to justify suspension when he urged the beheading of two U.S. officials.

The company has also been criticized in recent months for allowing large Facebook groups sharing false election claims and violent rhetoric to gain traction.

Story continues below advertisement

Facebook said its rates for finding rule-breaking content before users reported it were up in most areas due to improvements in artificial intelligence tools and expanding its detection technologies to more languages.

In a blog post, Facebook said the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt its content-review work force, though some enforcement metrics were returning to pre-pandemic levels.

An open letter from more than 200 Facebook content moderators published on Wednesday accused the company of forcing these workers back to the office and ‘needlessly risking’ lives during the pandemic.

“The facilities meet or exceed the guidance on a safe workspace,” said Facebook’s Rosen.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies