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Hate Speech Visibility Dropped 50% in 9 Months, Says Facebook

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Facebook is hitting back at allegations that its artificial intelligence systems aren’t doing enough to curb hate speech on the platform. Integrity VP at Facebook, Guy Rosen penned a blog post countering some of the claims emerging out of a recent WSJ report.

Rosen said that the prevalence of hate speech on Facebook has dipped by 50% over the past three quarters (9 months). Moreover, Facebook also shared a graph illustrating the downward trend.

“What these documents demonstrate is that our integrity work is a multi-year journey. While we will never be perfect, our teams continually work to develop our systems, identify issues and build solutions,” Rosen said in the post (via).

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The aforementioned WSJ report pointed out that Facebook’s AI systems could do little to curb hate speech on the platform. However, Rosen said this is the wrong way to go about it.

“Focusing just on content removals is the wrong way to look at how we fight hate speech. That’s because using technology to remove hate speech is only one way we counter it.”

This is the latest in a series of clarifications by Facebook in the past few weeks

Rosen clarified that Facebook measures the success of its systems based on the visibility of hate speech on its platform. The blog post went on to say that hate speech accounts for only five views per 10,000 on Facebook.

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“Prevalence is how we measure our work internally, and that’s why we share the same metric externally. While we know our work will never be done in this space, the fact that prevalence has been reduced by almost 50% in the last three quarters shows that taken together, our efforts are having an impact.”

Facebook has routinely encountered trouble over wrongly flagging content as hate speech. “We need to be confident that something is hate speech before we remove it,” Rosen went on to say.

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This is the latest in a string of statements issued by Facebook over the past couple of weeks. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently denied allegations that the company prioritizes its profits over the safety and well-being of its users.

“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” Zuckerberg said at the time.