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Facebook Working to Improve Hate Speech Response

  • Reuters

Employees walk along a walking and bicycle path at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Jan. 29, 2013.

Employees walk along a walking and bicycle path at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Jan. 29, 2013.

Facebook Inc said its systems to remove hate speech haven't worked as well as the company had hoped, amid reports that advertisers are pulling their brands off the social network in the face of a backlash from women's groups.

In a blog post by its safety team late Tuesday, the company acknowledged there had been problems with removing content that would be considered examples of gender-based hate.

“We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better - and we will,” the company said in the post.

Among other responses, Facebook said it would update the guidelines used to evaluate hate speech, and would encourage existing online anti-hate groups to add representatives of women's organizations as well.

Last week, a group called Women, Action & the Media released an open letter to Facebook, urging the company to improve its response to content that “trivializes or glorifies violence against girls or women.”

They also called for Facebook members to contact advertisers whose ads appeared next to such content.

The British edition of MediaWeek reported on Wednesday that at least 13 brands pulled ads from Facebook in the wake of the campaign.
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