Facebook has announced changes to its policies on hate speech and suppression of voters, but the measures have done little to suppress the wave of companies pulling advertising off the platform as the company deals with hate speech online.
The CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced changes to a number of guidelines on Friday, hours after the multinational Unilever announced it would remove its advertising from the platform for the next six months.
Facebook accounts for approximately 98% of its annual $ 70 billion in advertising revenue, and the Unilever announcement dropped Facebook shares by 7%.
Unilever’s boycott entry put significant pressure on Facebook, said Nicole Perrin, lead analyst at eMarketer, a market research firm. As one of the largest advertisers in the world, his steps could lead other brand advertisers to follow suit, she said. It also drew spending longer than other companies and on more platforms, including Instagram and Twitter.
“This suggests a deeper problem with user-generated content platforms, since any platform that enables political expression is expected to split,” she said.
The changes announced on Friday are the most important that Facebook has made after months of action by employees and legislators. However, critics argue that they are still too incremental.
Facebook said it would take a similar approach to Twitter and flag posts that may violate its guidelines but are allowed to remain on the platform because they are considered current.
The platform will also include a link to their voting information center for each post with voting information, including from politicians: “This is not a judgment of whether the posts themselves are correct,” said Zuckerberg.
The new guidelines are a reversal of Facebook’s previous stance. Just last week, the company made it clear that Facebook does not consider much of the language Trump uses to suppress votes to suppress voters and defends Trump’s contributions as a “legitimate debate.”
Zuckerberg also said in the video that posts that “lead to violence or deprive people of the right to vote” will be removed regardless of who publishes them or whether they can be considered current.
“I am optimistic that we can make progress on these challenges,” said Zuckerberg. “I think we will be able to do this while maintaining our democratic traditions of freedom of expression and voting, and I am determined to make Facebook a driving force on this journey.”
The pressure on Facebook to moderate hate speech has increased in recent weeks as the platform has refused to report false and up-to-date statements by Donald Trump despite the steps taken by the competition platform Twitter. In response, workers went on strike and asked the company to do more against hate speech and incitement to violence.
How much the new guidelines will change the Facebook landscape remains to be seen, said representatives of Change the Terms, a coalition of over 55 civil rights groups working to combat online hatred.
“Today on Facebook, the collective voice of various users has won against the threats of hateful politicians and white supremacists, but we need more enforcement – no words that remain unfulfilled,” said Jessica J González, co-founder of Change the Terms and Co. -CEO the Free press.
Change the terms cited the existence of more than 100 white supremacist Facebook accounts that are still active on the platform. Others noted that Donald Trump’s post on shooting looters during civil rights protests continues to be published on the website.
Zuckerberg also said the company will not change its policies that allow it to lie in paid political advertisements. Rashad Robinson of Color of Change said the CEO’s statement “was an 11-minute missed opportunity to commit to change”.
“The new changes from Zuckerberg don’t go far enough,” Robinson said on Twitter. “Labeling“ current ”content so that the public can judge for itself is not a new guideline. It’s more the same and it won’t cut it. “