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Facebook Removed 9.6M Posts For Hate Speech In Q1, Warns Of Coronavirus Impact On Content Moderation

Neer Varshney

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) in its Community Standards Enforcement Report on Tuesday said it removed 9.6 million posts in the first three months of 2020 for hate speech.

Automated Systems Speed Up The Process

This is a 68.4% increase over the previous quarter where it removed 5.7 million posts, and 134% increase year-on-year from the first quarter of 2019 where it removed 4.1 million posts.

"We expanded our proactive detection technology for hate speech to new languages, in addition to making improvements to our English detection technology," Facebook said in the report. "Our proactive rate also increased as a result."

The social media company said there were 1.3 million appeals against its decision on removing the posts, and it restored about 63,600 of them as a result.

Facebook noted that it has been strengthening automated content moderation tools and technologies, a move that helped it keep the content in check even as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced it to reduce staff.

"When we temporarily sent our content reviewers home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased our reliance on these automated systems and prioritized high-severity content for our teams to review in order to continue to keep our apps safe during this time," the company said.

Company Warns Of Reduced Moderation

Facebook noted that it expects to see the impact of the pandemic on its moderation ability in the next report. It said that the appeal process has been significantly reduced over the past seven weeks due to the unavailability of the staff.

"Our effectiveness has certainly been impacted by having less human review during Covid-19, and we do unfortunately expect to make more mistakes until we're able to ramp everything back up," Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said, following the report, according to CNBC.

As early as January, Facebook announced that it was shifting its focus to combating misinformation related to the coronavirus.

The company also recently announced the first 16 members of its content oversight board, who will act as the final authority in deciding what content stays on the platform and what is removed.

Price Action

Facebook shares traded 1.1% lower at $207.81 in the pre-market session on Wednesday.

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