Facebook Purges Record Amount of Hate Speech and Harassment Posts

10 million posts were removed for violating the company’s hate speech and bullying policies during Q3 2019

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Facebook is purging more content than ever before for violating its rules against bullying and “hate speech,” according to the tech giant’s latest Transparency Report released on Wednesday morning.

The report revealed Facebook censored a record 7 million hate speech posts during Q3 — or nearly 60% more than it did the previous quarter. Facebook also removed another 3.2 million posts for bullying and harassment — up from 2.5 million posts in Q2 — setting another quarterly record for the company.

Facebook’s rules define hate speech as “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, calls for exclusion or segregation based on protected characteristics, or slurs. These characteristics include race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease.”

The Q3 surge in removals coincided with Facebook banning a number of far-right commentators, including Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, for violating its policies on “dangerous individuals and organizations” in May.

The social network attributed its spike in content removals to improvements in its machine learning technology, making it easier to spot content that violates its rules without first being flagged by users.

Other forms of banned content saw a sharp increase in removals as well. Most glaringly, Facebook deleted 11.6 million child pornography posts during Q3 — nearly doubling the amount it removed during the second quarter. On the other hand, Facebook took action against fewer terrorist propaganda posts (7 million) and violent/graphic posts (25.2 million) compared to previous quarters.

In October, Facebook reported it had reached 1.62 billion daily active users.