The Civil Rights Group is suing Facebook and its executives, saying CEO Mark Zuckerberg made “false and misleading” statements to Congress when he said the giant social network was removing hate speech and other material that violated its rules.
A lawsuit filed on Thursday by Muslim lawyers in Washington, the Supreme Court, said Zuckerberg and other senior executives “engaged in a coordinated campaign to convince the public, elected representatives, federal officials and non-profit leaders in a national quote that Facebook is a safe product . ”
According to the lawsuit, Facebook is repeatedly alerted to hate speech and calls for violence on its platform and has done nothing or very little. False and misleading statements about removing hateful and harmful content violate Columbia County Consumer Protection Act and its restrictions on fraud, the lawsuit said.
“Every day, ordinary people are bombarded with harmful content, which is contrary to Facebook’s own policies on hate speech, bullying, harassment, dangerous organizations and violence,” the lawsuit said. “Hateful, anti-Muslim attacks are particularly widespread on Facebook.”
In a statement, Facebook said it did not allow hate speech on its platform and said it regularly worked with “experts, NGOs and stakeholders to help ensure that Facebook is a safe place for everyone, as recognition of anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms. .
The company, based in Menlo Park, California, said it had invested in artificial intelligence technologies to eliminate hate speech and proactively detect 97% of what it removes.
Facebook declined to comment beyond a statement that did not address the lawsuit’s allegations that it had not removed hate speech and anti-Muslim networks from its platform, even after being informed of their existence.
The lawsuit, for example, cites research by Elon University professor Megan Squire, who published research on anti-Muslim groups on Facebook and alerted the company. According to the lawsuit, Facebook did not remove these groups – but changed the way external academics can access its platform, so the kind of research Squire did would be “impossible than if it were done by Facebook staff.”
Facebook’s Hate Speech Policy prohibits targeting a person or group with “dehumanizing speech or images,” calls for violence, references to inhumanity and inferiority, and the generalizations that inferiority refers to. This policy is committed to attacks based on race, religion, national origin, disability, religion, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and serious illness.
However, in one example on July 25, 2018, Squire reported to Facebook a group called “Purge Worldwide.” The group’s description is: “This is an anti-Islamic group, a place where you can share information about what is happening in your part of the world.”
Facebook replied that it would not delete the group or the content. The lawsuit cites other examples of groups with names such as “The Death of Murderous Members of the Islamic Muslim Cult” and “Filth of Islam,” which Facebook did not remove, although it was warned, even though Facebook policy prohibits “referencing or comparison with dirt” based on religion. In the second case, Facebook removed some posts from the group, but not the group itself.
The lawsuit also cites an exception Facebook made to its policy for former President Donald Trump, for whom Facebook made an exception to its rules when it announced a ban on all Muslims entering the United States as a candidate in 2016.
Zuckerberg and other social media leaders repeatedly demonstrated before Congress how they fought extremism, hatred, and misinformation on their platforms. Zuckerberg told the House Energy and Trade Committee that the problem was “nuanced”.
“Any system can make mistakes” when moderating malicious material, he said.
The plaintiffs are seeking jury litigation and damages of $ 1,500 for the infringement.