Facebook Trolled After New Update Asks Users After Every Post If They Think It’s Hate Speech

Machine learning algorithms can often require large data sets to work with, but Facebook’s approach to categorizing hate speech might be a little unusual.

As of late evening on 1st May, Facebook seems to be asking users after every post if the content that they see is hate speech. “Is this post hate speech?,” asks a bubble at the end of all kinds of posts on Facebook. Incredibly, the update doesn’t seem to be triggered by specific keywords, but seems to appear on completely innocuous posts.

facebook hate speech

On pressing “No,” the little widget disappears. But if users press “Yes”, Facebook throws up a new dialog box, asking users to give additional feedback. The options are Hate Speech, and more bizarrely, Test P1, Test P2 and Test P3.

facebook hate speech

If users press “Hate Speech,” Facebook thanks them for their feedback. The same result occurs if users press any of Test P 1, Test P 2 and Test P3.

Given how the Hate Speech widget was rolled out to users worldwide, there was an instant reaction on social media.

People couldn’t believe that a company like Facebook, which is a tech company that constantly touts its AI expertise, could ask people if clearly harmless posts were Hate Speech.

Soon memes mocking Facebook’s AI prowess began being shared.

 

What made things worse was that Facebook was asking users to tell it if their own posts were hate speech.

Some people didn’t realize that Facebook was showing this option for all posts, and began wondering if they were being selectively targeted.

Facebook has yet to comment on the new feature, but it’s hard to believe how it could’ve been intentional, especially in the form in which it was released. Even if Facebook wanted to collect user feedback on posts which they thought contained hate speech, it’s unlikely that they’d ask for feedback on every single post. And the heads that said Test P1, P2 and P3 shows that the feature was still in development when it was rolled out for users. Controlling hate speech is a serious issue for Facebook — it was brought up repeatedly during Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony a few weeks ago — but Facebook’s efforts in the area clearly aren’t off to the best start.

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