CNN: Facebook says it’s getting better at using AI to take down hate speech. “Facebook has spent years building and deploying artificial intelligence to stamp out hate speech on its massive social network. The company says it’s now using the technology to proactively spot nearly 95% of such content that it takes down. That remaining 5%, however, may be tricky to resolve.”
Brookings Institution: How Trump impacts harmful Twitter speech: A case study in three tweets. “Here, we examine three recent tweets from the president and whether his tweets have a similarly negative impact on the quality of other online speech. These three tweets offer a case study in how elite speech online can impact the incidence of harmful speech.”
Scientific American: Social Media Restrictions Cannot Keep Up with Hidden Codes and Symbols. “On the same day that President Donald Trump announced his COVID-19 diagnosis, Twitter reminded users of its policy that ‘tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed.’ The social media platform soon filled with posts accusing it of hypocrisy: threats targeting women and people of color have accumulated for years without removal, users said. But even as Twitter attempted to enforce its rules more stringently, thinly veiled posts slipped through the cracks.”
Ohio State University: Study reveals why some blame Asian Americans for COVID-19. “A blend of racial prejudice, poor coping and partisan media viewing were found in Americans who stigmatized people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study. But it was prejudice against Asian Americans that was most strongly linked to beliefs that Asians were responsible for the pandemic and most at risk for spreading it, results showed.”
CNN: Facebook has more users in India than anywhere else. It’s now dealing with a hate speech crisis. “Facebook is facing multiple simultaneous controversies in the United States, particularly around disinformation, hate speech and political bias. But those issues are also playing out — sometimes in more sinister ways — around the world, including a country where Facebook has more users than anywhere else.”
TechCrunch: TikTok joins Europe’s code on tackling hate speech. “TikTok, the popular short video sharing app, has joined the European Union’s Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech. In a statement on joining the code, TikTok’s head of trust and safety for EMEA, Cormac Keenan, said: ‘We have never allowed hate on TikTok, and we believe it’s important that internet platforms are held to account on an issue as crucial as this.'”
New York Times: Trolls Flood Social Media in Pakistan Amid Virus Lockdown. “Toxic trending on Twitter has also taken aim at minorities, blaming the ethnic Hazaras for allegedly bringing the coronavirus to Pakistan from neighboring Iran. Like most Iranians, Hazaras are Shiites, and traditionally make pilgrimages to holy sites in Iran, which has the deadliest virus outbreak in the region. Some Pakistani pilgrims returning home were among the first reported cases of COVID-19 in Pakistan.”
New Zealand Herald: How Facebook, Google algorithms feed on hate speech, rage. “Notice how those unsavoury posts liked by some long-forgotten friend always seem to float to the top of your curated social media feeds Wonder how an incitement to violence can stay on your screen for days? What about that infuriating conspiracy that keeps getting forced down your throat According to an Australian digital security researcher, it’s no bug. It’s a feature. It’s a subliminal mechanism designed to extract maximum revenue out of your inbox.”
Reuters: Internet giants could be fined up to $12 million under Austrian hate speech law. “Austria plans to oblige large internet platforms like Facebook and Google to delete illegal content within days and impose fines of up to 10 million euros ($12 million) in case of non-compliance, the government said on Thursday.”
TIME: How Far-Right Personalities and Conspiracy Theorists Are Cashing in on the Pandemic Online. “[Nick] Fuentes, 22, a prolific podcaster who on his shows has compared the Holocaust to a cookie-baking operation, argued that the segregation of Black Americans ‘was better for them,’ and that the First Amendment was ‘not written for Muslims,’ is doing better than O.K. during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s part of a loose cohort of far-right provocateurs, white nationalists and right-wing extremists who have built large, engaged audiences on lesser-known platforms like DLive after being banned from main-stream sites for spreading hate speech and conspiracy theories.
Stephenville Empire-Tribune: Coronavirus-inspired racism sows fear, anger among local Asian community. “Hurt. Angry. Unsafe. That’s how Jasmine Yuan says she felt in March when a stranger in a car yelled ‘corona!’ at her while driving by in a grocery store parking lot in North Austin. Yuan, 39, said she loves Austin and considers it a diverse, multicultural city, but lamented that she now fears portions of town that used to be part of her everyday life. After the incident, Yuan said she has avoided public places that she feels might put her at risk of being targeted again.”
CNET: Twenty state AGs press Facebook to do more to combat hate speech. “In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday, the AGs said they believed the company had ‘fallen short’ on its civil rights record and urged the company to ‘aggressively enforce’ its policies prohibiting hate speech and hate-based organizations. Other steps the AGs’ letter suggested Facebook take include allowing public, third-party audits of hate content and enforcement, as well as expanding its policies on limiting ads that disparage minorities.”
London School of Economics and Political Science: Facebook, language and the difficulty of moderating hate speech. “In March 2018, the Sri Lankan government blocked access to Facebook, citing the spread of hate speech on the platform and tying it to the incidents of mob violence in Digana, Kandy. In this post by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, a senior researcher at Asia Pacific think-tank LIRNEasia, the difficulties of responding to hate speech are unpacked based on research that his Data, Algorithms and Policy team recently completed.”
Axios: Hate speech has soared online since George Floyd’s death. “On June 3, at the height of nationwide protests, DoubleVerify, which uses its own technology to scan pages online so advertisers can avoid objectionable content, says instances of hate speech were more than 4.5 times higher than usual — the highest-ever rate it has measured to date.”
Los Angeles Times: Reddit moderators spent years asking for help fighting hate. The company may finally be listening. “When [Jefferson] Kelley, a Reddit moderator, booted hateful users off threads where Black people discussed sensitive personal experiences, racial slurs piled up in his inbox. Crude remarks about women filled the comment sections under his favorite ‘Star Trek’ GIFs. The proliferation of notorious forums, including one that perpetuated a vicious racist stereotype about Black fathers, stung Kelley, a Black father himself. Kelley and other moderators repeatedly pleaded with the company to back them up and take stronger action against harassment and hate speech. But Reddit never quite came through. Then, all of a sudden, that seemed to change.