Press freedom group sues Facebook over disinformation and ‘hate speech’

Press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is suing Facebook in France, claiming the social media platform spreads disinformation. The complaint was filed Monday with the Paris prosecutor’s office.

“Reporters Without Borders accuses Facebook of ‘deceptive marketing practices’ on the grounds that the social media company’s promises to provide a ‘safe’ and ‘error-free’ online environment are contradicted by the widespread proliferation of hate speech and false information on its networks,” the group said in a statement.

Specifically, the group says Facebook allows “hate speech” against the media, as well as misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. The group said Facebook allows insulting and threatening posts against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as well as the TV program “Quotidien” and a regional newspaper, L’Union.

Facebook said in a statement that it “has zero tolerance for harmful content on our platforms,” ​​Bloomberg reported.

“Over the past few years, we have tripled the size of our safety and security team to 35,000 and developed artificial intelligence technology to proactively find and remove harmful content,” the statement continued, according to Bloomberg. “While no one can completely eliminate misinformation and hate speech from the internet, we continue to use research, experts and technology to combat it in the most comprehensive and effective way possible.”

If RSF wins the case, the decision could have global repercussions on Facebook, as its terms of service are similar around the world. Any changes in France could trigger changes elsewhere.

Facebook and other Big Tech companies have come under intense pressure to shut down what some call misinformation. In December, the EU proposed new regulations that could fine companies up to 6% of their global revenue for failing to comply with orders to remove content deemed violent, according to Bloomberg.

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