Facebook reportedly told a user it removed hateful anti-Muslim posts when it hadn't

Facebook reportedly told a user it removed hateful anti-Muslim posts when it hadn't

Mark Zuckerberg question mark

Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook sent messages to a user telling her that it had removed hate-speech she had reported, but it hadn't, the BBC reports.
  • Facebook said this was caused by a glitch, which sent automated messages telling users that reported content had been taken down when it was still live.
  • The company could not comment on how many users the glitch may have affected.

Facebook told a user that it had removed hate speech she reported, when it hadn't, according to the BBC.

Facebook told user Janet (a name given to the user by the BBC to protect her identity) that it had removed hateful anti-Muslim posts when they actually remained live on the social network.

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After reporting the posts, she received a message saying: "We removed both the group and all its posts, including the one you reported." But this was not the case.

Facebook told the BBC that it is looking into a possible glitch in its content moderation system. The glitch reportedly sends a message telling users that content they've reported has been taken down, when in fact Facebook's moderators have deemed it permissible to stay online.


"We are investigating this issue, and will share more information as soon as we can," Facebook said. Business Insider contacted Facebook to ask if the glitch has been fixed, what caused it, and how many users it may have affected.

Janet shared examples of content which had stayed up after she was told they'd been removed, including from a group with upwards of 54,000 members named "LARGEST GROUP EVER! We need 10000000 members to Make America Great Again!" Janet reported the group for anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

"[Facebook] has been promoting themselves in my Newsfeed saying they are trying to keep our democracy safe by eliminating content that is false and divisive," Janet said.

"If they are sending me notices they removed the content and offensive groups but in reality are not, doesn't this go against what they say in public or to Congress?"

How Facebook goes about removing content that is false or divisive was a key talking point when COO Sheryl Sandberg gave testimony to Congress earlier this month. Facebook also admitted in August that it had been "too slow" to act on hate speech in Myanmar.


"Facebook claims to be removing this content but obviously they are not," Janet said. "I can't be the only one."

Facebook has been under the microscope for how it polices its platform recently, as some critics feel it hasn't invested enough in employing people to moderate content that gets reported. Sandberg told Congress that Facebook will be doubling the number of people it employs in safety and security to 20,000.