An internal audit point of making the “problem” of Facebook

Un audit interne pointe des décisions «problématiques» de Facebook

Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand Agence France-Presse
Several organizations in the civil-rights lobby to Facebook struggle more actively against the content issues and the misinformation.

Glenn Chapman Agence France-Presse and

Juliette Michel, Agence France-Presse

Respectively in San Francisco and New York

July 9, 2020

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Facebook has taken the “problematic” and “heart-wrenching” in terms of civil rights, in particular regarding messages of the american president, concludes Wednesday, an independent audit conducted at the request of the first social network in the world.

When the tenant of the White House was posted in may publications that may discourage voting, or encouraging violence against citizens protesting against racism, the network was left unchanged, ensuring that they do not infringe its rules. But they “transgressed clearly, the” terms of use of Facebook, ensure the autrices of the report who say they “strongly” expressed to the group their objections.

Taken at the highest level, these decisions “have revealed major deficiencies in the understanding and application of civil rights by Facebook” . The group ” has not sought to gather the expertise of specialists in civil rights and to apply it as it should have been “, regret-they.

Twitter, on the contrary, had chosen to report these tweets to presidential and warn its subscribers that they were in violation of its rules.

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Insufficient Efforts

Facebook has taken “positive steps and important” against the intolerance, or the falsification of the results of the elections, concedes the paper commissioned by Facebook two years ago. But the efforts are deemed insufficient. “At this stage of the story, the listeners are concerned that these gains are masked by the problematic decisions and wrenching that Facebook has taken, which represents significant setbacks for civil rights,” notes the document.

Facebook handles issues around civil rights still too often “in response” to an event, and the ” blow by blow “. “Many members of the community of civil rights are discouraged, frustrated and angry after years of imploring the company to do more to advance equality and combat discrimination, while preserving freedom of expression “, the report adds.

Several organizations that defend civil rights, amid protests against racism and police violence in the country, are currently lobbying for that Facebook fight more actively against the content issues and the misinformation. But there are associations at the origin of a boycott advertising against the social network Facebook have said they are “disappointed” on Tuesday at the output of a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of the group, and his number two Sheryl Sandberg.

A beginning

The report, released Wednesday, recommends, among others, the group put in place structures specifically dedicated to the civil rights stronger with experts on key topics such as elections or hate, all under the guidance of a “vice-president in charge of civil rights” within the company. The document also calls on Facebook to have a more strict interpretation of its rules to prohibit messages that can alter the results of the elections, such as that of the american president to question the integrity of the vote by correspondence.

We know that Facebook needs to improve the way in which the network identify and eliminate the content that is hateful

— Sheryl Sandberg


Facebook has not devoted enough resources or reacted quickly enough to the challenges posed by the problem of civil rights on its platforms, according to the report led by a former member of the powerful association of civil rights ACLU Laura Murphy, and a team of lawyers from the law firm Relman Colfax supervised by Megan Cacace. He had been initiated under pressure from advocacy organizations and civil rights of parliamentarians to ensure that laws and principles on civil rights are respected, recognized and firmly integrated into the work of Facebook ” .

The group, in a blog post, acknowledged that the report highlighted progress and gaps, and recognized that it needed to do more. “This work over two years has had a profound impact on the way we think about our impact on the world” , wrote the number two in the group, Sheryl Sandberg. “We have made real progress over the years, but this work is never finished and we know that Facebook needs to improve the way in which the network identify and eliminate the content that is hateful. “

The group will implement some of the recommendations in the report and in particular is committed to hire a specialist civil rights ” that will continue to push us on these issues internally “.

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