Facebook’s Initiative To End Hate Speech

Al Arafat Sherfuddeen

January 19th, 2016

Image Courtesy: applemagazine

Facebook has taken the lead in countering hate speeches on its platform based on complaints from various organizations. Facebook has earmarked funds for the initiative (Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI))and have launched a European campaign to combat extremism and hate speech on the Internet.

Through this initiative OCCI (Online Civil Courage Initiative [OCCI]) will

  Provide financial and marketing support to European NGOs already working in the field of countering online extremism,

 Develop best practices for use by NGOs, governments and other online services, and

 Fund essential research into the causes of violent extremism and hate speech, in order to understand the problem that needs to be addressed.

fdImage Courtesy: amazingsusansblog

Facebook has connected billions of lives, changed destinies, brought about revolution in the way we connect with each other. Among the many things which the world benefitted from the advent of social media and Facebook in particular, there were few un foreseen and not so welcome culture which found life on Facebook and various others social media platforms i.e. hate speech.

The anonymity on social media has led to rise in hate speeches which are racist, misogynist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti immigrant, Islam phobic among other ways in which hate speeches has manifested in the recent years.

Facebook initially reacted to hate speeches when Women, Action & the Media (WAM) had put Facebook in the dock over the lack of purpose in clamping down on gender based hate on Facebook, this is despite Facebook already having in place mechanisms which allows users to “flag” content that is potentially a hate speech which is likely to violate Facebook’s community guidelines.

Screenshot_18

Screenshot_17Source: Sheryl Sandberg

 What Hate speeches do?

Hate speeches  by definition could be a gesture, conduct or writing by and towards a individual or group. Hate speeches intimidates individuals and groups, their dignity and rights besides creating an atmosphere of fear. It reinforces or recreates stereotypes which genders, races and communities are fighting to break and thereby making streamlining of the marginalized a difficult one besides creating fissures in the society.

 Hate Speech vs Free Speech
The debate rages on if hate speech is part of free speech, what are the guidelines that makes a speech, a “hate speech”. Unlike the 1st Amendment of the United states where freedom of speech is absolute, there are many countries including India which places restrictions on freedom of speech. Criteria for restricts ranges from morality to national security.

The Logical Indian recognizes the existence of hate speech on social media and its impacts. We appreciate the intentions of OCCI in curbing hate speech. We hope they deliver on what they set out for and make social media a knowledge filled and a peaceful place where ideas/opinions are shared freely and discussions and debates done in a civil way.

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