Tech

Report: Facebook Censorship Designed To Prevent ‘Exclusion’

Internal Facebook documents obtained by a German newspaper reveal the criteria the social media platform uses in censoring “hate speech.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the II CEO Summit of the Americas on the sidelines of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City in this April 10, 2015 file photo.   REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Files   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the II CEO Summit of the Americas on the sidelines of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City in this April 10, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Files   

The documents are reportedly used by Facebook to educate content moderators on what kind of language should or shouldn’t be removed from the social network. “We remove speech that targets people on the basis of a long-standing trait that shapes their identity and ties them to a category that has been persistently discriminated against, oppressed, or exploited,” the documents read.

The documents seem to make the case that Facebook censors “hate speech” in the name of protecting free expression and fighting “exclusion.”

“We do not allow hate speech on our platforms because it creates an environment of intimidation and exclusion that limits peoples willingness to share freely and represent themselves authentically,” the documents explain. (RELATED: Snopes, Which Will Be Fact-Checking For Facebook, Employs Leftists Almost Exclusively)

Hate speech, according to the documents, is defined as an “attack” on a “protected category.” Protected categories according to the documents include: sex, religious affiliation, national origin, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability or serious illness.

While attacks on countries are allowed, attacks on people of that country are not. Put differently, criticisms of Mexico would meet criteria for removal, but criticisms of Mexicans would.

Facebook declined to either confirm or deny the documents’ authenticity.

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“Facebook is no place for the dissemination of hate speech, racism or calls for violence. We evaluate reported content seriously. And as we learn from experts, we continue to refine the way we implement our policies to keep our community safe, especially for people that may be vulnerable or under attack,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement released to TheDC.

Facebook has faced criticisms for its liberal bent. (RELATED: Facebook’s News Content Staff Was Filled With Liberals)

Facebook came under fire earlier this year after former employees revealed that the social network repeatedly suppressed conservative news and trending topics. (RELATED: Leaked Emails Show Facebook Exec Shared Research With Clinton Campaign)

Facebook’s current crackdown on “fake news” has some conservatives worried that liberals will use the initiative as an excuse to censor conservative viewpoints. (RELATED: Despite Media Freak-Out, Data Shows Fake News Sites Have Tiny Audience)

This story has been updated to include the statement from Facebook.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson