EU lawmakers slam Facebook for ‘lack of improvement’ in removing anti-Semitic content

A woman looks at the Facebook logo on an iPad in this illustrative photo taken on June 3, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Regis Duvignau / Illustration / File. – MEPs call on Facebook to take “immediate measures” to better fight against the proliferation of anti-Semitic content on its platform.

In a letter sent Dec. 16 to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook – which was recently renamed Meta – and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, eight MEPs expressed concern over Facebook’s “lack of improvement” in the suppression of anti-Semitic messages.

MPs said on November 9, which was also Kristallnacht’s birthday, they tested Facebook’s “responsiveness” to reported anti-Semitic content by reporting posts containing bloody libel, conspiracy theories linking Jews to the pandemic of COVID-19 and Holocaust denial. They said only 11% of reported anti-Semitic content was eventually removed online.

The letter read: “There is only one conclusion to be drawn from this: most hate messages, including calls for violence, are never deleted when reported, and your services continue to reject. user reports of clearly anti-Semitic content. We therefore urge you to take immediate action to counter this increasingly worrying phenomenon. “

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December 22, 2021 8:53 AM

MEPs suggested that Meta implement “strict terms of service to prevent the dissemination of hate speech online”; invest in “appropriate training for employees” so that they can filter out abusive content online; and improve their artificial intelligence tools which, according to them, “are – for now – clearly incapable of detecting more problematic content”.

They also told Zuckerberg and Sandberg: “You will also need to improve the support structure for reporting such content, take swift action when anti-Semitic messages are reported to you, and provide more transparency about your efforts to combat cyber hate on your site. platform. There is still a long way to go to combat anti-Semitism on your platform and we urge you to take more proactive measures against hate posts and abusive users.

Frédérique Ries, vice-president of the European Parliament’s working group against anti-Semitism, was one of the signatories of the letter. Ries, who is also part of the pro-European political group of PE Renew Europe, said on Twitter: “Anti-Semitism is on the rise and online platforms are fertile ground for the spread of this hatred.

She added: “Today we call on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take action; they must redouble their efforts to prevent anti-Semitic content from poisoning the online world. Hatred has no place. Nowhere.”

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