San Francisco: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday pledged to root out hateful posts, saying the social network has to get better at finding and removing hateful content.
Ahead of her meeting with civil rights groups in presence of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg said they are making changes – not for financial reasons or advertiser pressure, but because it is the right thing to do.
“Facebook stands firmly against hate. Being a platform where everyone can make their voice heard is core to our mission, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for people to spread hate. It’s not,” she said in a statement.
Sandberg and Zuckerberg were scheduled to meet with online racial justice group Color of Change, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other groups behind the boycott Facebook campaign that has seen over 400 advertisers leaving Facebook in recent days.
“We meet in the context of what may be the largest social movement in US history, and our nation’s best and latest chance to act against the racism that has pervaded our country since before our independence,” she said.
Sandberg said that they have made real progress over the years, but this work is never finished.
“We have worked for years to try to minimise the presence of hate on our platform. That’s why we agreed to undertake the civil rights audit two years ago,” she said, adding that the company is working hard every day to enforce its policies with ever greater precision and speed.
Facebook is set to publish its independent civil rights audit – a two-year review of its policies and practices led by noted civil liberties and civil rights expert – on Wednesday.
“We are the first social media company to undertake an audit of this kind. This two-year journey has had a profound effect on our culture and the way we think about our impact on the world,” said Sandberg.
“We are never going to be perfect, but we care about this deeply,” she added.
American food company Chobani, drugmaker Pfizer, software major SAP, Coca Cola, Adidas, cleaning supply firm Clorox, Conagra (the maker of Slim Jim, Duncan Hines and Pam), fast-food chain Denny’s, Ford and Starbucks, among others, have decided to pull their ads from the platform.
Leading US drugstore chain Walgreens and New Zealand-based news site Stuff have also decided to quit Facebook and its sister platforms amid criticism over its handling of hate speech and misinformation.
As hundreds of companies halt advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Zuckerberg is confident the brands would soon return on the platform.