After two years of work, the conclusions of an independent audit commissioned by Facebook have been published. They claim that the decisions the company has made in recent years have caused “tremendous setbacks” for civil rights.
They harshly criticize the social network for its inability to “promote equality and fight discrimination, while safeguarding freedom of expression.” Although these external consulting projects sometimes approach the client with some delicacy, this time they have delivered an evaluation with 89 pages full of warnings.
Messages of hatred and to discourage voting
In this assessment, lead auditor Laura Murphy and her team at the Relman Colfax law firm, analyze Facebook’s policies around hate speech, algorithmic bias and content moderation.
The auditors were particularly opposed to the company’s decisions to maintain the Recent Donald Trump Posts. In his view, these posts violate Facebook’s stated policies around hate speech or messages that can discourage voting.
Murphy and his team stated that, “Although the audit process has been significant and has brought some significant improvements to the platform, it also we have seen the company make painful decisions in the last nine months with real consequences in the world and that entail a serious setback for civil rights. ”
“Unfortunately, in our view, Facebook’s approach to civil rights remains too reactive and unsystematic.”
The auditors have also shared a number of recommendations for the social network, and they urge the company to work so that the algorithms and their tools do not turn their users into extremists. If they do not, they declare that this can “have dangerous (and potentially deadly) consequences in the real world.”
Sheryl Sandberg, director of operations of the multinational, has published a statement commenting on the results of this audit. She acknowledges that the company must be able to “go further in suppressing vote and hatred.”
The conclusions of this audit come at a very delicate moment for Facebook, when the platform is being the subject of a major advertising boycott, to which very relevant companies have joined.
Share An internal audit warns Facebook that its inaction in the face of hate speech is “a step backwards for civil rights”
Themes Social networks and communities