Facebook to double staff fighting online hate speech, propaganda

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Facebook plans to double its staff working on reviewing and deleting illegal material in an effort to further crack down on hate speech and terrorist propaganda, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in Brussels on Tuesday.

During her first ever speech in the capital of the European Union, Sandberg aimed to demonstrate her company’s willingness to cooperate with the bloc, where the company has run into troubles due to the EU’s strict standards on data protection and illegal hate speech.

“We have not done enough to stop the abuse of our technology..

“We have done a lot to maximize the benefits of our platforms, but we need to do more to minimize the negatives,” she said.

Sandberg noted that Facebook was already employing 10,000 people working on safety and security issues and added that the company will double the number to 20,000 by the end of this year to better monitor and eliminate illegal material posted online.

She said the issue was “complicated” due to the lack of “universal definition of what is hate speech,” adding: “but we can always do better.”

So far, the EU has shied away from regulating social media platforms and has called on online companies to crack down on illegal content themselves.

This includes signing up to a voluntary code of conduct against hate speech, to which Facebook is a signatory.

However, the European Commission warned this month that it may toughen rules if companies fail to regulate themselves. 

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