Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
testified in front of members of Congress Tuesday and promised the tech giant would employ more than 20,000 workers to monitor hate speech.
At the heels of controversy over British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica breaching Facebook user's data, Zuckerberg spoke about privacy issues and regulation.
The 33-year-old also pledged to tackle the issue of objectionable content.
Mark Zuckerberg on monitoring hate speech on FB: "By the end of this year, we are going to have 20,000 people working on security and content review -- working across all these things. So when content gets flagged to us, we have those people look at it." https://t.co/CbFO899XlU pic.twitter.com/syGQJOC6BC— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 10, 2018
He added that Facebook's AI currently serves as a filter for some hate speech. Though the technology is imperfect, Zuckerberg is optimistic that in "five to ten years" it will be able to more accurately suss out hate speech.
There are some big concerns over how Facebook wants to monitor hate speech on the platform:
Game developer Mark Kern wondered on Twitter how precisely the company will ensure the AI won't adopt political bias as a guide for culling hate speech.
Zuckerberg says that in 5-10 years they will have AI to detect and stop hate speech before it is posted. What happened to freedom of speech? Did that whole right just get bypassed? What makes you think an AI made by Facebook won’t be biased in what it deems hate speech? https://t.co/URzLkA8HVt— Mark Kern (@Grummz) April 10, 2018
Independent Journal Review's Caleb Hull shared his problem with Zuckerberg's plans: "'Hate speech' is completely subjective and invades free speech."
Zuckerberg says he wants to eliminate “hate speech.”— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 10, 2018
What’s the problem with that?
“Hate speech” is completely subjective and invades free speech.
The Wall Street Journal's Byron Tau weighed in by noting arguing that "odious, hateful and even racist speech is broadly protected by the First Amendment."
When tech companies promise to regulate "hate speech" in the U.S., they are promising to impose their own community standards on otherwise lawful, protected speech.— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg's announcement could have repercussions for one demographic that's already expressed reservations about how Facebook operates.
Several conservative outlets have accused Facebook of de facto censorship. Sites such as Breitbart have published stories claiming Facebook is targeting right wing media by surreptitiously decreasing the reach of conservative content on the platform. In addition conservatives have noted that, in many cases, liberal outlets have been unaffected by Facebook's notorious algorithm. Changes to Facebook's algorithm have resulted in dramatic drops in engagement and traffic for many publishers.
Over the weekend, social media stars Diamond and Silk blasted the platform. In a video message, the prominent Trump supporters said Facebook had deemed their content "unsafe to the community." The duo's message went viral, ironically, on Facebook. ManyConservative commenters expressed their support and echoed the sentiment that the company was censoring right-leaning viewpoints.