tech

Facebook defends policies on hate speech amid ad pullback

Dozens of brands are putting their social media advertising budgets on hold in a condemnation of divisive and racist content aimed particularly at Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has no incentive to profit from hate on its site, Nick Clegg said.
Facebook has no incentive to profit from hate on its site, Nick Clegg said. (Reuters)

Facebook Inc. defended its policies on hate speech amid an advertising boycott to push the social media company to do more.

“We have industry leading record in how we deal with dark side of the internet,” said Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs, in an interview on Bloomberg Television Monday. Facebook has developed the world’s most sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence systems to root out hate speech and misinformation, he said.

Dozens of brands are putting their social media advertising budgets on hold in a condemnation of divisive and racist content aimed particularly at Facebook and Instagram. Microsoft Corp, the third-largest advertiser on Facebook last year, became one of the latest in a rapidly expanding list on Monday. Starbucks Corp. and PepsiCo Inc. are among other big companies that announced they are curtailing ad spending.

Facebook has no incentive to profit from hate on its site, Clegg said, adding that people who use the platform are against such posts as well, but disagree about how solutions are implemented.

“They don’t like to see hateful and inflammatory content on their news feeds,” he said. “Everyone is against hate, it’s a question of what you do about it.”

Clegg said that while Facebook can never eliminate all hate speech, the solution is “not an easy straightforward task.”