Facebook’s hate speech detection systems to focus on ‘worst of the worst,’ report says

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Facebook is reportedly working on a major overhaul of its algorithms that police hate speech on its platforms. The changes, which are still in the early stages, include reenginering its automated moderation systems to better detect and remove hateful language that’s considered the “worst of the worst,” according to The Washington Post, citing internal Facebook documents. 

The massive social network has long banned hate speech, but its updated approach will shift the company away from treating all hate speech the same, according to the Post. As part of the overhaul, Facebook systems will prioritize detecting and removing hateful comments directed at Black people, Muslims, people of more than one race, the LGBTQ community and Jews, the documents reportedly show. The system changes also reportedly include deprioritizing hateful comments against white people, Americans and men.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but told the Post that its systems are focused on finding hate speech that is the “most serious.”

“We know that hate speech targeted towards underrepresented groups can be the most harmful, which is why we have focused our technology on finding the hate speech that users and experts tell us is the most serious,” Facebook spokeswoman Sally Aldous told the Post. 

More to come.

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