Facebook for the first time has disclosed numbers on the prevalence of hate speech on its platform, saying that out of every 10,000 content views in the third quarter, 10 to 11 included hate speech.
The world’s largest social media company, under scrutiny over its policing of abuses, particularly around November’s U.S. presidential election, released the estimate in its quarterly content moderation report.
According to some media reports, Facebook said it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content in the third quarter, about 95% of which was proactively identified, compared to 22.5 million in the previous quarter.
The company defines ‘taking action’ as removing content, covering it with a warning, disabling accounts, or escalating it to external agencies.
This summer, civil rights groups organized a widespread advertising boycott to try to pressure Facebook to act against hate speech.
The company agreed to disclose the hate speech metric, calculated by examining a representative sample of content seen on Facebook, and submit itself to an independent audit of its enforcement record.
The Anti-Defamation League, one of the groups behind the boycott, said Facebook’s new metric still lacked sufficient context for a full assessment of its performance.
In October, Facebook said it was updating its hate speech policy to ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust, a turnaround from public comments Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had made about what should be allowed.
Facebook said it took action on 19.2 million pieces of violent and graphic content in the third quarter, up from 15 million in the second. On Instagram, it took action on 4.1 million pieces of violent and graphic content.
Earlier this week, Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were grilled by Congress on their companies’ content moderation practices, from Republican allegations of political bias to decisions about violent speech.
The company has also been criticized in recent months for allowing large Facebook groups sharing false election claims and violent rhetoric to gain traction.
Facebook said its rates for finding rule-breaking content before users reported it were up in most areas due to improvements in artificial intelligence tools and expanding its detection technologies to more languages.