Facebook plans to add around 3,000 new staff members to its content control teams around the world in the near future, whose main job will be to hunt down and take action against hate speech and terrorist propaganda on the social network, recent reports indicate. Around 500 of those new employees are reportedly going to be coming from Germany where numerous cases of online hate speech have been recorded in recent years. The country already hosts about 700 of Facebook’s content control staff, mostly working out of Berlin and through outsourcing companies. On top of hiring more staff, Facebook is reportedly going to be bolstering psychological and other types of support for content control staff, who typically see some of the worst speech and content that the web has to offer in the course of performing their duty and ensuring that members of the public do not see that same content.
Amid a very charged worldwide social and political climate, the pressure is on tech companies with public-facing products, such as Facebook and Google, to help stamp out damaging hate speech and propaganda that can aid the causes of extremists. Europe in particular has been cracking down hard on tech companies in recent months, pressuring them to do more to curb the spread of hate and messages encouraging violence. Germany has been one of the tougher authorities taking action against hate speech since the outbreak of racially-charged and nationalist speech online in the wake of the ongoing worldwide refugee and immigration crises.
Aside from social pressure, companies like Facebook have even come under regulatory fire recently, with some countries’ authorities threatening the corporations with all kinds of legal action, including large fines, if they don’t find ways to reign in the rash of hate speech that’s been spreading online. Many such firms have taken to working with the governments on those issues; Facebook and Google launched an initiative last year to help stamp out misleading and hateful news content, commonly referred to as “fake news,” in Google’s news feeds and search results, as well as Facebook’s social networks, though many governments are now calling for them to do more.