Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook Will Get ‘Better and Faster’ at Censoring ‘Hate Speech’

Sheryl Sandberg uses Facebook's woes as lesson for MIT grads
Thibault Camus/AP

In a recent blog post, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg promised that the company would get “better and faster” at censoring what it considers hate speech across its platforms.

The Hill reports that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg promised in a recent blog post that the social media giant would “get better and faster” at identifying and censoring what it considers hate speech across its various platforms.
Sandberg wrote in the blog post:

Facebook stands firmly against hate. Being a platform where everyone can make their voice heard is core to our mission, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for people to spread hate. It’s not. We have clear policies against hate — and we strive constantly to get better and faster at enforcing them.

We have made real progress over the years, but this work is never finished and we know what a big responsibility Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content.

Sandberg added that both she and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would be meeting with the civil rights groups behind the Stop Hate for Profit campaign which has called on major advertisers to pull their ads from Facebook. The civil rights groups include Color of Change, the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The campaign has resulted in major companies such as Ford, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Starbucks, Target, Unilever, and Verizon pulling their advertisements from Facebook’s platform. Despite this, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t seemed worried by the campaign.

During a virtual town hall with Facebook employees, Zuckerberg implied that the boycott was a PR issue rather than an issue that will have a negative impact on the company’s financials. “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” Zuckerberg stated.

Facebook has recently made changes to its policies surrounding hateful conduct and voting misinformation, but Zuckerberg was quick to assure employees that no outside pressure forced the changes. “You know, we don’t technically set our policies because of any pressure that people apply to us,” he said, according to the Information. “And, in fact, usually I tend to think that if someone goes out there and threatens you to do something, that actually kind of puts you in a box where in some ways it’s even harder to do what they want because now it looks like you’re capitulating, and that sets up bad long-term incentives for others to do that [to you] as well.”

Some advertising experts have stated that brands pulling their advertising from Facebook may actually give a short-term boost to their brand visibility. Gerard Francis Corbett, a communications strategy consultant based in Silicon Valley, told MarketWatch recently: “By pulling ads, they save money and make a low-risk statement that results in positive publicity and marketing for their brands among constituents. The Facebook boycott is a lower-risk way for CEOs to make a [political] statement.”

In her blog post, Sandberg stated that Facebook would soon release the findings of its two-year civil rights audit, noting that it “helped us learn a lot about what we could do better, and we have put many recommendations from the auditors and the wider civil rights community into practice.”

Sandberg added: “We are making changes — not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure, but because it is the right thing to do. We are never going to be perfect, but we care about this deeply. We will continue to listen and learn and work in the weeks, months and years ahead.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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