Earlier this week, an audio transcript from Facebook's July Q&A hosted by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and attended by employees were published online.
In the leaked audio, the tech billionaire was asked about his views on various topics such as the meteoric rise of TikTok and the push to break up big tech, including Facebook, from major political figures like Senator Elizabeth Warren.
On Facebook's Hate Policy
On Wednesday, Oct. 2, The Verge reporter Casey Newton released another selection from the leaked audio from the July Q&A, including Facebook's policy on hate speech. Specifically, one employee asked Zuckerberg why the phrase "men are trash" is considered tier-one hate speech.
In Facebook, posts or comments that include words and phrases that target a person or a group of people on the basis of what the social media site calls protected characteristics (race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc.) are not allowed on the site. Content that falls under tier-one hate speech can be automatically deleted.
As a response, Zuckerberg gave a detailed explanation of the company's content moderation of hate speech.
"[G]ender is a protected category. So substitute in your mind while you're thinking through this, what if this were 'Muslims are trash,' right?" he said. "You would not want that on the service."
He went on to say that the company needed to have very specific protocols for the more than 30,000 human content moderators around the world to follow.
"So we're talking about nuances in the US, but there are different ethnic groups or different religions that are in the majority or the minority in different countries," he explained, "and just being able to track all that and make assessments with any kind of precision and then deal to hand those rules to, again, 30,000 people who need to make consistent judgments, is just not going to happen."
Zuckerberg admitted that the current process is not perfect, but he said that there currently is no technology yet that is capable of understanding nuances and context and then make a fair judgment.
The company has previously received criticism for leaving hateful and violent content on the website. In 2017, ProPublica asked Facebook whether 49 posts that include potential instances of hate speech. The company admitted that their moderators made mistakes on 22 of the cases.
Mark Zuckerberg's Reaction To Leaked Facebook Q&A Audio
Every week, Zuckerberg hosts a Q&A where employees are free to ask anything they want. While these meetings are not meant to be made public, the Facebook CEO responded by promoting the original The Verge story, which published transcript of the audio, to his 117 million followers. He also livestreamed Thursday's Q&A.
During the Q&A posted on his own Facebook page, Zuckerberg offered his unfiltered views on various topics, including billionaires, the company's new app Threads, the European ruling on taking down offending content worldwide.