European Lawmakers are taking Facebook to task for the social media site dragging its heels when it comes to removing antisemitic content, according to a letter recent sent to Mark Zuckerberg.
The December 16 letter addressed to CEO Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, recently rebranded as Meta, by a group of members of the European Parliament (MEPS), accuses the tech giant of not making progress in flagging anti-Semitic content for removal.
The MEPs explained that they had tested Facebook’s “reactivity” to flagged anti-Semitic posts on November 9 by reporting content that contained blood libels, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories linking Jews to the pandemic.
In response, only 11 percent of the reported posts were removed after a review process.
“There is only one conclusion one can draw out of this,” they wrote. “Most hate messages, including calls for violence, are never taken down when reported, and your services continue dismissing user reports on blatantly antisemitic content. We therefore urge you to take immediate measures to counter this increasingly worrisome phenomenon.”
The MEPs called on Facebook to enact “strict terms of services to prevent the dissemination of hate speech online.” They also demanded that the firm conduct “proper training for employees” so they will have the knowledge to discern problematic posts, while suggesting that AI algorithms need improvement as they are “clearly unable to detect more of the problematic content.”
“You would also need to improve the supportive structure for flagging such content, take swift action when antisemitic messages are reported to you, and provide more transparency on your efforts to combat cyberhate on your platform,” the MEPs wrote.
“Much more needs to be done to tackle antisemitism on your platform and we urge you to take more proactive measures against hateful posts and abusive users.”
One of the signatories of the letter, Frédérique Ries, vice president of the European Parliament’s Working Group Against Antisemitism, said on Twitter: “Antisemitism is getting worse and online platforms are fertile grounds for this hate to spread.”
“Today we call on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take action, they must step up their efforts to keep antisemitic content from poisoning the online sphere. Hate has no place. Nowhere,” she added.