Facebook removes hate pages after viral experiment on incitement



After a viral social media experiment by the Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center showed that Facebook pages inciting violence against Palestinians, versus those inciting violence against Israeli Jews, might not be treated the same way by the social network in terms of determining which pages get shut down for violating Facebook's Community Standards, the social network has removed both of the experiment's offending pages.

One page incites against Jews. One page incites against Muslims. Which page will be closed by Facebook? 

In last week's "The Big Facebook Experiment," Shurat HaDin opened two identical Facebook pages, uploading inciting posts against Israeli Jews on one page and inciting posts against Palestinians on the other. 

Since then, in response to a request by JNS.org for comment on the experiment, a spokesperson from Facebook said that "Facebook does not tolerate hate speech, including against people on the basis of their nationality. We review all reports and take down such content" 

"Both these pages have now been removed from Facebook," he added.

He also pointed to a Facebook post about Shurat HaDin's experiment by a former AOL employee, who wrote that at AOL, "We had hundreds of people, in different countries around the world, handling the actual moderation 24/7. We trained their managers on the policy, who trained their staff. We tested for accuracy. We took the appeals and hard questions. Overall, the line staff did a good job. But they had to work quickly, they weren't highly paid, they didn't always catch the nuances of every post. Sometimes we tried to use technology and algorithms to help filter and to keep up with the immense number of complaints, but that didn't always work well."

Like AOL, said the post, "Facebook has more than 1 billion users, and an immense number of complaints every second about offensive content. It's a big operation responding to complaints, hundreds of people, in multiple countries trained to follow the policies. It is not perfect."

But Shurat HaDin's experiment is not the first time Facebook has been accused of allowing incitement against Israel or Israelis. JNS.org previously covered the topic in the following story: What’s Facebook’s status on Palestinian incitement against Israelis?

Posted on January 11, 2016 .