A scathing new audit has highlighted the failure of Facebook to address hate speech and the spread of misinformation on its platform, an omission which has ultimately left the 2020 presidential election open to interference.
The 100-page civil rights audit concluded that Facebook had failed to grasp the urgency of the situation, prompting an advertising boycott of 900 major companies in the Stop Hate for Profit campaign.
The failure of Facebook to address the spread of hate speech and misinformation will have harmful impact on 2020 election as 900 companies boycott.
The audit came about after pressure from activists, with the findings highlighting that comments by President Trump, in which he threatened protestors, were left unmoderated despite the fact they violate the company’s own hate speech policies.
The report says, “Facebook has made policy and enforcement choices that leave our election exposed to interference by the President and others who seek to use misinformation to sow confusion and suppress voting.”
The two-year audit was lead by lawyers and civil rights experts Laura Murphy and Megan Cacace, who advised Facebook to make changes to bias issues in its algorithms, enforce its voter suppression policies, and address organised hate speech on the platform.
However, concerns over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s response to the issues were also raised, who’s championing of free speech on his platform has been prioritised over equality and non-discrimination.
The report stated: “When it means that powerful politicians do not have to abide by the same rules that everyone else does, a hierarchy of speech is created that privileges certain voices over less powerful voices.”
“Facebook has been far too reluctant to adopt strong rules to limit misinformation and voter suppression,” it continued. “With less than five months before a presidential election, it confounds the auditors as to why Facebook has failed to grasp the urgency.”
Facebook’s response to the audit has been less than impressive, with Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, saying they would not be implementing all of the recommendations.
In a blog post, Sandberg stated, “While we won’t make every change they call for, we will put more of their proposals into practice.”
Her comments followed a meeting with the civil rights groups who organised the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, in which 10 improvements for Facebook to make were outlined.
However, in a statement after the meeting, the campaign also said, “It was abundantly clear in our meeting today that Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team is not yet ready to address the vitriolic hate on their platform.”
The Stop Hate for Profit campaign that has seen companies pull ads from Facebook for the month of July includes the likes of Adidas, Playstation, Ford, Honda, and Vans.