Kamala Harris: Facebook removes racist posts about US vice-president-elect

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Facebook has taken down a string of racist and misogynistic posts, memes and comments about US Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris.

The social network removed the content after BBC News alerted it to 3 groups that often hosted hateful material on their pages.

Facebook says it takes down 90% of hate speech before it’s flagged.

One media monitoring body described the pages as “dedicated to propagating racist and misogynistic smears”.

‘Low-hanging fruit’
However, despite the pages being places where hate-speech is often directed towards the vice-president-elect, Facebook said it might not take action on the groups themselves.

Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said: “Facebook’s removal of this content only after it has been flagged to them by the media confirms that the principles and guidelines they establish are hollow because they put little to no effort into detection and enforcement.

“We are talking about rock bottom of low-hanging fruit from a detection perspective.

“And yet, these escaped Facebook’s notice until flagged by a 3rd party.”

The pages included accusations Ms Harris wasn’t a US citizen – because her mother was from India and her father from Jamaica.

Other comments suggested she wasn’t “black enough” for the Democrats.

Another post said she should be “deported to India”.

And, in several memes, her name is mocked.

Sexually graphic
One of the pages has 4,000 members, another 1,200.

A series of other sexually graphic and misogynistic submissions were also removed.

Facebook has been repeatedly criticised by advertisers and civil-rights groups for not doing enough to tackle hate speech.

In August, many companies stopped advertising on the platform in protest.

‘Spread hate’
Previously, other campaigners have told BBC News racism and hate speech isn’t picked up by Facebook’s internal moderation tools – and in some situations even promoted.

Rishad Robinson, from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, told BBC News Facebook had “created a group of algorithms that incentivise people to spread hate”.

Facebook’s own civil-rights audit, in August, said the corporate had made “vexing and heartbreaking” decisions about hate speech that represented “significant setbacks for civil rights”.

And last week, one among Joe Biden’s senior aides attacked Facebook over its handling of conspiracy theories, calls to violence and disinformation within the days following the US election.

“Our democracy is on the road ,” tweeted the US president-elect’s deputy press secretary, Bill Russo.

Source: BBC News

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