Is Facebook profiting off hate?

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Is Facebook profiting off hate?
Is Facebook profiting off hate?
09-10-2020 11:00 am
(CNET 2020) On Tuesday, a Facebook engineer left the social media giant and publicly criticized the company for not doing enough to combat hate speech. 

The former employee writes, "I'm quitting because I can no longer stomach contributing to an organization that is profiting off hate in the US and globally," This was a post that was publicly shared on Facebook and internally with co-workers. The resignation highlights the backlash FB is facing from its own employees while under pressure from civil rights advocates and advertisers to tackle hate speech more head on. 

Many employees are wondering if Facebook is taking this problem seriously. In May, they left up a post from Donald Trump that included remarks "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" - defending this decision based on the fact that it didn't violate the rules against inciting violence. 

Twitter however, labeled the same tweet as breaking the rules on glorifying violence. Facebook's decision to leave this post up resulted in some employees staging a rare virtual protest against their own company. Other posts include that from a Kenosha guard militia event that called for violence before a fatal shooting at a protest. Facebook eventually pulled down a page for the militia group after the shooting - calling the delay in action an "operational mistake". 

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company doesn't "benefit from hate", that there are a lot of initiatives in place to stop/block hate groups and fake news stories. But that might not be enough. These recent slips in judgement is affecting their revenue, with some companies vowing to stop purchasing advertising from Facebook until they do more to combat hate speech. 

This brings up a weird point about freedom of speech - when is enough enough? Do social media platforms have the right to censor people, no matter how hateful the speech is? And if they don't does it mean that they're profiting from hate? 

I think we can all agree that freedom of speech is important, but when it starts to infringe on the rights of others, or can be directly sourced to incite violence - something needs to be changed. 


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