Apparently Facebook Can Stop Hate Speech, But Not Terrorist Propaganda

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

Although Facebook and other tech companies have been able to censor so-called hate speech, they have been unable to prevent the spread of Islamic terrorist propaganda on their sites, according to a new report.

“Despite promises by digital platforms to curb material supporting terrorism, Jihadi groups such as ISIS and other terrorist organizations continue to rely upon Google, Facebook, and Instagram to sow fear, spread hate and recruit members,” according to the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) report.

DCA’s report illustrates how Facebook has been ineffective in its ability to prevent the spread of terrorist propaganda, especially from radical Islamic terrorist organizations like the Islamic State.

The report shows a gallery of photos that include beheadings, setting prisoners on fire and much more.

DCA worked with Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center (GIPEC) to conduct the report. Among the many examples, the report shows a pro-ISIS post on Facebook from 2016 that says “ALLAHU AKBAR” paired with ISIS terrorists waving their black flag that has been there until at least May 1, 2018.

Facebook was able to censor 2.5 million pieces of hate speech, 38 percent of which was flagged automatically by its technology, in the first three months of 2018 alone.

There are a slew of methods terrorists use to get around tech companies blocking their propaganda, including using web archives to preserve content before it’s deleted from the internet, as The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. (RELATED: ISIS Uses Internet Archives To Spread Propaganda, Report Finds)

“I think what we see is that the platforms are stuck in a loop when it comes to offensive content,” Tom Galvin, executive director of DCA, said on Friday, The Hill reported. He added although they’ve promised to fix it, it’s really not going away. “Either their [Facebook, Google, etc.] systems aren’t as good as they say collectively or it’s not the priority that they claim it is.”

Galvin said the business model for the tech companies relies on not cracking down on extremist content.

“Their business model is to collect as much information as possible,” Galvin said. “No matter what, they’ll always be in conflict with trying to correct bad content on their platform.”

Facebook responded to the allegations, and stated it is taking measures to prevent the spread of radical Islamist propaganda.

“There is no place for terrorists or content that promotes terrorism on Facebook or Instagram, and we remove it as soon as we become aware of it,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, The Hill reported. “We know we can do more, and we’ve been making major investments to add more technology and human expertise, as well as deepen partnerships to combat this global issue.”

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