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Facebook warns it can’t fully solve toxic content problem

Facebook Inc is under pressure to rid its site of hate speech and fake news but warned it can’t build a platform impervious to human nature.

By: Bloomberg | Published: June 19, 2019 9:01:17 pm
Facebook hasn’t been sitting idle on the issue, though: It said it removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter alone. (Image source: Bloomberg)

Facebook Inc is under pressure to rid its site of hate speech and fake news but warned it can’t build a platform impervious to human nature.

“This is not a fully solvable problem,” Carolyn Everson, a vice president responsible for marketing at the social media giant, said on a panel Tuesday at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in the south of France. “There are some bad parts of humanity, and the platforms are a reflection of that.”

Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter Inc and Google’s YouTube have come under fire for not doing enough to curb the spread of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and disinformation on their platforms.

Facebook hasn’t been sitting idle on the issue, though: It said it removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter alone. Everson said Facebook has 30,000 people working on the issue of the safety of the platform, up from less than 3,000 people two years ago. Facebook now takes down 99.8 per cent of terrorist content before it’s seen by a human, and 65 per cent of hate speech content, she said.

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“It’s a cat and mouse game,” Everson said. “This work is never going to be done. It’s ongoing.”

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