Facebook Bans Holocaust Denial Content

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On Monday in a major departure from the company's previous position facebook announced that it would ban Holocaust denial content from the platform E. J.. C. is proud of our sustained advocacy to help facebook or at this decision. Joining us now to discuss the new policy is join ANA cutler facebook head of policy for Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. Jordan, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me here now in two thousand eighteen facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously said that he hates Holocaust denial but that he doesn't believe it is facebook's place to censor the free exchange of ideas. This week facebook reversed course and announced that Holocaust denial would no longer be permitted on the platform what changed between then and now. I think I'll start just bipolar mark because I could say a lot of things but I think the most important thing is what he says himself I think what's really interesting mark doesn't post about every policy change and every step of the company takes, but he felt it was important that he posted he set himself. I struggled with the tension between standing for freedom of expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the her the Holocaust. My thinking has evolved as I've seen data showing an increase in. Antisemitic violence as our water policies have also changed on hate speech drawing the right lines between what is and isn't acceptable speech in straightforward but with the current state of the world I believe this is the right balance and I just I felt it was important just to read all of his words. I'm I'm sure many of you saw it on facebook and then read one hundred other news articles but to go back into what mark said his thinking of all for two reasons, one data in the real world. And I'm really actually excited to get the data from the new AJC survey coming up not to give you a plug. No one asked me to do that. By all means, plug away that day that is important to us. We we look at it and we see it as a connection between what we see online and offline world that's important to us, and second is the discussions that we've had with people around the world. That's also important Tyson. You guys have been a part of that. So again, these processes evolve and I think it's important to note all of our processes and all of our policies evolve. So mark you know having. A policy change isn't that unusual? This one obviously is something that we've been all very focused on so it stands out to us. facebook famously has more than a billion, maybe even two billion monthly active users, something like that. Right the the numbers. That I'm not counting. The number is is way up there and certainly makes you number one among social media platforms. So I would imagine with so many people. So frequently using facebook, the sheer number of posts, individual posts in facebook's history must be well well into the billions does this decision apply retroactively? So if someone five years ago, posted some piece of Holocaust denial content in among these many billions of posts is facebook using some kind of system to find that and remove it. Great question because we actually find remove. Two ways the first is our AI systems that look and find for this stuff and the second is user reports and hoping many the listeners here when they see content that they think violates our policies, not just our speech policy but any of our policies that they report it because every piece of content whether it's a comment page post, all of those pieces of content are things that you can report and have checked by were, and those reviewers are people that are. Based all around the world that are operating twenty, four, seven, and operating in every language on our platform to find those violations it's important to say that no matter what changes we've made as soon as content is violating our platform, we will remove it because hate speech what it was two years ago isn't necessarily hate speech today, and that's not just because we've changed our policies the words that we used as slurs change over time and so speech changes as time. Evolves. We also take a look at those changes and reevaluate our policies. So of course, if we find content because it's reported to us or because we find it no matter when it was posted, we will remove that from our platform. Now, it will take time when it comes to this new policy to get it up to speed and to try to get as much of this content off. One of the things about ai is that it takes time for us to. Learn and to be able to use automated technology to find things and remove them. does take a learning process especially considering how many languages we have. So I just encourage everybody listening if you see Holocaust denial or distortion content to report it, but I would like to flag that we might make mistakes especially in the beginning, you'll have an opportunity to appeal that mistake, and if we continue to make mistakes I can promise you that will continue to work on improving. One thing I've seen kind of these things will go viral when when mistakes are made sometimes. On on twitter of course, not not facebook but you'll see that someone you know intended or someone. Did you know share their great grandmother's story of being in the Holocaust something in there there's a line about how you know someone once told her that her story was made up or something and enough words are used in just the right pattern that the AI picks it up and flags it as something like that. So I guess those are the kinds of mistakes that that can happen is they're? Going to be some kind of a notice I, go on my facebook and I like post my usual daily Holocaust denial post and ten of my friends like it and two more calm and whatever, and then someone says like what the hell are you doing like this is terrible and they report me and facebook becomes aware of it and they take it down as well. They should what happens then well, it's going to be the same as any other content on our platform and I think it's important. To notice the policy that we came out with to remove how Austin I own distortion content is a subsection of an existing hate speech policy that already provided a lot of protections against hate speech or antisemitic content against Jews, and so for us it's I wouldn't say reinventing the wheel here. What we're doing is adding onto a policy that we already started in August I kind of look at that as the moment where these changes really took shape where we added a line into the hate speech. Policy that said, we will remove harmful stereotypes against Jewish people that claims that they are controlling the world arts, major institutions, and so this is going to be a line under that. If you go in and anyone can go door community standards and see there's a new bullet point under there that says Holocaust denial distortion anyone who reports content for violating hate speech policy we'll be treated the same anyone who reporting any content is treated the same. We're not doing something separate for this policy so just in. General. When you report content I think it's important to know that often anonymous reports so people should feel safe to report the person on the other side. If that content isn't violating, they're not going to even know that that content was reported. But if the content is violating, then they will get a message from US telling them that the content was removed and we'll tell them for what policy it was removed. We won't be specific as to what word was violating. We will tell them what policy. That's been a huge undertaking from our engineering teams. We usually just in the past would say this is violating our community standards and we understood that that wasn't enough information for people. So now we explain what policy was violating. It's important to note that people report content for many different reasons. But when we see that report will look at it under all of our policies. So you might report something for being hate speech, but we actually removed it because it was nudity we will evaluate all that content. And then let the person know as to why we also explained to them that if you continue to violate our policies, we will block you from using our services or eventually remove you from our services

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