Cracking down on hate speech on Facebook


Some of Facebook's least popular pages have been scrubbed from the social media site. Pictures and jokes that encouraged violence against women angered many users. But an advertising boycott soon had Facebook rewriting its policies.

"The idea is that when you give people this ability to stay connected with all the people they care about and you make it so they can express new things with themselves or in communication with people they care about, you just open up all these new possibilities.You make it so stay connected in ways they couldn't before, they can learn about new things whether its about events going on in the world or organize new things or learn about new products or new movies or music they want to listen to. It opens up a lot of new possibility".

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

If Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg is excited about the possibilities created by Facebook, he is also burdened with the responsibilities of hosting the world's largest social media site. With more than a billion users, Facebook has the daunting task of making sure its users do not violate its policies. Those policies include no harmful and hateful speech.

Facebook declined our request for an interview but they did send us a statement,
which reads in part:

"In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations and continue to work to improve them.
We appreciate the work of those who have brought the issue the additional attention it deserves, and we look forward to working with these organizations going forward."

Panel: Jaclyn Friedman / Jillian York

This week, the social media site announced it had failed to identify and remove content that glorified violence against women.... and that it will make significant changes to the way it deals with this kind of content.

An Open Letter to Facebook -- Huffington Post 

The announcement was hailed as a victory by feminist groups that campaigned against the material and even convinced advertisers to boycott Facebook.

Media Reporter for NYT, Tanzina Vega

Our next guest believes the success of this campaign to change Facebook's policy is as much about money as human rights. Tanzina Vega is the media reporter for the New York Times. She was in our New York Studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch and Sujata Berry.

Last Word - US Republican Newt Gingrich

Earlier we spoke with prominent US Republican Newt Gingrich. When he was stumping for the Republican presidential nomination last year, Gingrich was asked about the Obama administration's stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Gingrich is a little shakey on Canadian geography, but he's given the matter some thought. Newt gets today's last word.

Other segments from today's show:

Newt Gingrich on how the GOP can take back the White House

How useful is Question Period?

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