The complaint was submitted on Thursday in Washington D.C. in federal court. The lawsuit argues that Facebook fools lawmakers, civil liberties groups, and the general public as a whole when it makes big claims that it gets rid of web content that spews hate or provokes physical violence and that it actually doesn’t.
“This failure has amplified the volume of anti-Muslim hate bombarding Facebook users. And the anti-Muslim hate that’s pervasive on Facebook presents an enormous problem – both online and in real life,” The lawsuit alleges, which mentions duplicated comments made by previous President Donald Trump and also the function that a militia group purportedly played in provoking a 2020 double murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Just like a car company can’t exaggerate how safe their product is to boost sales, Facebook isn’t allowed to do that either. And that’s what they are doing,” Muslim Advocates legal director Mary Bauer stated in an interview with USA TODAY. “They are lying about the safety of their products to avoid regulation by Congress and to assuage the concerns of the public and nonprofit groups.”
For instance, the lawsuit points out a statement Facebook’s chief operating officer Sandberg said in September 2018 to the Senate Intelligence Committee, when according to USA TODAY, she made the claim that: “Senators, let me be clear. We are more determined than our opponents, and we will keep fighting. When bad actors try to use our site, we will block them. When content violates our policies, we will take it down.”
But months prior, a computer technology professor at Elon University named Megan Squire, reported a group named “Veterans Against Islamic Filth” for going against Facebook’s policies on dehumanizing speech, consisting of comparing Muslims to filth. Facebook rejected reports of the web content, the suit asserted.
Facebook reacted on Thursday and stated in an emailed declaration, “We do not allow hate speech on Facebook and regularly work with experts, non-profits, and stakeholders to help make sure Facebook is a safe place for everyone, recognizing anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms. We have invested in AI technologies to take down hate speech, and we proactively detect 97 percent of what we remove.”
Whether the legal action has lawful qualities or otherwise, one scholar claims it highlights an unpleasant pattern.
“Putting aside the legal technicalities, the Muslim Advocates’ case drives home that, absent compulsion from Congress or the courts, Facebook will continue to provide a haven for hate groups launching anti-Muslim attacks and fomenting racial strife, notwithstanding Facebook’s repeated pledge to take down hate speech,” stated David Vladeck, a Georgetown Law School professor in Washington, D.C.
Activists have actually invested years advising Facebook and various other social media site businesses to do even more to get rid of dangerous web content, especially after the lethal Capitol riot on January 6, yet claim exclusive conferences and public pressure campaigns haven’t solved much of the problem. In December of 2020, 30 Democratic U.S. House of Representatives members composed a letter advising Facebook to get rid of anti-Muslim material, that followed 15 Democratic senators making a comparable plea to the social network in the prior month.
Facebook as well as various other social media site businesses have wide discretion concerning exactly how they police web content, and also Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act guards them against responsibility. Those defenses do not include misrepresenting just how risk-free their platforms are, lawyer Peter Romer-Friedman who is representing the Muslim Advocates, informed USA TODAY.
“We think this is a very deliberate strategy by Facebook to convince the public that their product is safe, or at least that they are trying to make it safe, and to discourage regulators from taking any further action to enforce the law or adopt new laws that would make Facebook more liable,” Romer-Friedman asserted.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.