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Facebook launches its first-ever measure of the prevalence of hate speech on its platform
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Out of every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, 10 to 11 of them included hate speech
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Facebook launches its first-ever measure of the prevalence of hate speech on its platform

Out of every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, 10 to 11 of them included hate speech
  • Facebook has revealed its first-ever report on the prevalence of hate speech on its platform.
  • The report comes after Facebook came under the spotlight during the US Presidential election over its policing of hate speech and abuses on the platform.
For the first time ever, Facebook has revealed numbers on the prevalence of hate speech on its platform. It revealed that out of every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, 10 to 11 of them included hate speech.

Prevalence estimates the percentage of times people see violating content on its platform. They calculate hate speech prevalence by selecting a sample of content seen on Facebook and then labeling how much of it violates the platform's hate speech policies. Because hate speech depends on language and cultural context, Facebook sends these representative samples to reviewers across different languages and regions. Based on this methodology, they estimated the prevalence of hate speech from July 2020 to September 2020 was 0.10% to 0.11%. In other words, out of every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, 10 to 11 of them included hate speech.

"We specifically measure how much harmful content may be seen on Facebook and Instagram because the amount of times content is seen is not evenly distributed. One piece of content could go viral and be seen by lots of people in a very short amount of time, whereas other content could be on the internet for a long time and only be seen by a handful of people. We evaluate the effectiveness of our enforcement by trying to keep the prevalence of hate speech on our platform as low as possible, while minimizing mistakes in the content that we remove," said Facebook in its report.

The report comes after Facebook came under the spotlight during the US Presidential election over its policing of hate speech and abuses on the platform.

When it first began reporting its metrics for hate speech, in Q4 of 2017, Facebook's proactive detection rate was 23.6% which means that of the hate speech they removed, 23.6% of it was found before a user reported it to them. The remaining majority of it was removed after a user reported it. Today, Facebook proactively detects about 95% of hate speech content that is being removed.

Facebook launches its first-ever measure of the prevalence of hate speech on its platform

"We’ve invested billions of dollars in people and technology to enforce these rules, and we have more than 35,000 people working on safety and security at Facebook. As speech continues to evolve over time, we continue to revise our policies to reflect changing societal trends. But we believe decisions about free expression and safety shouldn’t be made by Facebook alone, so we continue to consult third-party experts in shaping our policies and enforcement tactics. And for difficult and significant content decisions, we can now refer cases to the Oversight Board for their independent review and binding decisions," Facebook added.