Facebook sets its sights on hate speech with million-euro initiative

'The best remedy to bad speech is more speech,' COO Sheryl Sandberg said

Hate speech has no place on the Internet, Facebook says, and this week it put at least some of its money where its mouth is.

Specifically, the social network on Monday helped launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative, a new, million-euro effort designed to stamp out hate speech and extremism on the Internet in Europe.

The new effort aims to support European nonprofit groups involved in the fight against online extremism, which has been reaching new heights amid the refugee crisis afflicting the region. The initiative will also bring together experts to jointly develop a set of tools and best practices to further that goal.

Headquartered in Berlin, it was jointly organized by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg along with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

What proportion of the effort's stated one million euros comes from Facebook itself wasn't clear, and the company didn't respond to a request for clarification.

Hate speech online has been a particular focus in Germany as it struggles to cope with the unprecedented influx of refugees arriving at its borders. In December, Facebook, Google and Twitter agreed to combat online racism by deleting hate speech from their websites within 24 hours.

"In the past year, we've seen millions of people come together online to support refugees and stand in solidarity with the victims of terror attacks," Sandberg wrote in a post on her Facebook page on Monday. "But we’ve also heard voices of hate growing louder. With extremism damaging lives and societies across the world, challenging those voices has never been more important."

Deleting content "won't make the hatred go away," Sandberg added. "We need the voices of tolerance and love to ring out across the world, because the best remedy to bad speech is more speech."

It remains to be seen, however, how well Facebook puts those values into practice.

"Enforcement has been an ongoing issue with Facebook in the past," noted social media strategist Lon Safko. "I hope Facebook stands behind their own policies, even at the cost of some members' 'freedom of speech' rights."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?