Facebook’s rules explicitly prohibit “organizations or individuals who announce a violent mission or who are involved in violence”, including hate speech. However, the company made a lot of money from ads by these groups.
According to the Sludge, Facebook received $ 1.6 million from so-called hate groups between May 2018 and September 2019. The survey was made from the social network’s ad library, which indicates who paid and how much each political ad displayed to users.
During the period analyzed, 38 hate organizations or figures paid to display 4,921 ads. Among the authors are those who classify undocumented immigration as invasion and who even defend the execution of LGBTQs.
To determine what hate groups would be, the report used the definition of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which defines them as organizations with “beliefs or practices that attack or harm an entire class of people, usually because of their immutable characteristics”.
Facebook defines hate speech as “a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity and serious illness or disability”. The company also provides protections for migratory status.
Still, the survey indicates that the biggest spending on hate ads is made by anti-immigration groups. Since May 2018, the social network has won $ 959,000 from ten groups that act in defense of this agenda.
About $ 910,000 was spent by just one of them. The founder and other members of the organization are linked to white supremacist movements and have used social media to spread extremist positions. The group also invested $ 917,000 on Twitter and $ 90,000 on YouTube.
Facebook also received about US $ 542 thousand from anti-LGBTQ groups (US $ 392 thousand from only one organization) and US $ 69 thousand from groups with anti-Muslim speech (US $ 55 thousand came from a group, only ).
To Sludge, the company said it has improved its hate speech identification to rely less on user complaints. In the last quarter of 2017, proactive detection reached 24% of publications that violated the rule. In the first quarter of 2019, the rate was 65%.
But, despite identifying posts that violate the rules, Facebook does not exclude all pages that published them, as provided in its rules. According to the company, there is a lengthy process in which it consults several organizations and experts to identify hate groups.
“We continually study trends in organized hatred and hate speech and work with partners to better understand how they evolve,” said a Facebook spokesman. “We are analyzing the flagged content [pela reportagem] and acting against any postings or advertisements that violate our policies. ”