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EU: Commission says internet co.s must do more against extremist material or face legislation; Facebook & Google to hire more moderators

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7 December 2017

EU warns tech firms: remove extremist content faster or be regulated

Author: Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian (UK)

The European Commission has warned Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter and other internet technology companies that they must do more to stem the spread of extremist content or face legislation.

Growing pressure from European governments has meant progress has been made by companies in significantly boosting their resources dedicated to help take down extremist content as quickly as possible.

But... [i]f the EU is not satisfied with the further progress on the removal of extremist content by technology companies, which are primarily based in the US, it said it will come forward with legislation next year to force the issue...

A group of technology companies pooling resources to combat extremist content called the Global Internet Forum – a group which includes Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – said that progress had been made

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5 December 2017

Facebook bans women for posting 'men are scum' after harassment scandals

Author: Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian (UK)

In the wake of the multiple sexual harassment and abuse scandals across the globe, Facebook has been suspending women for “hate speech” against men after posting variations of the phrase “men are scum”.

Despite Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg warning of a potential backlash against women as scandals rock companies and political institutions, the social network continues to ban women speaking out against men as a group...

Facebook says that threats and hate speech directed towards a protected group violate its community standards and therefore are removed. The social network told the Daily Beast that “men are scum” was a threat and therefore should be removed...

A Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian: “We understand how important it is for victims of harassment to be able to share their stories and for people to express anger and opinions about harassment — we allow those discussions on Facebook. We draw the line when people attack others simply on the basis of their gender.”

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5 December 2017

Google to hire thousands of moderators after outcry over YouTube abuse videos

Author: Sam Levin, The Guardian (UK)

Google is hiring thousands of new moderators after facing widespread criticism for allowing child abuse videos and other violent and offensive content to flourish on YouTube.

...The news from YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, followed a steady stream of negative press surrounding the site’s role in spreading harassing videosmisinformationhate speech and content that is harmful to children.

Wojcicki said that in addition to an increase in human moderators, YouTube is continuing to develop advanced machine-learning technology to automatically flag problematic content for removal. The company said its new efforts to protect children from dangerous and abusive content and block hate speech on the site were modeled after the company’s ongoing work to fight violent extremist content...

The statement also said YouTube was reforming its advertising policies, saying it would apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation and expand its team of ad reviewers.

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