Have no incentive to keep hate speech: Facebook”s Nick Clegg

(IANS) As Facebook ad boycott by more than 400 brands officially starts on Wednesday, the social networking giant said it was getting better at removing harmful content and that the platform does not in any way profit from hate speech.

Writing an open letter on AdAge to address concerns of advertisers, Nick Clegg, Facebook”s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications on Wednesday said that “platforms like Facebook hold up a mirror to society”.

“I want to be unambiguous: Facebook does not profit from hate,” said Clegg, who is a former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The call to boycott ads on Facebook started after the social networking giant decided to allow controversial posts by US President Donald Trump to stay up.

Facebook said that when it finds hateful posts on Facebook and Instagram, it takes a zero tolerance approach and removes them.

“When content falls short of being classified as hate speech — or of our other policies aimed at preventing harm or voter suppression — we err on the side of free expression because, ultimately, the best way to counter hurtful, divisive, offensive speech, is more speech,” Clegg said.

“Exposing it to sunlight is better than hiding it in the shadows,” he wrote.

Clegg admitted that the advertisers do not want to see hate speech on the platform.

“Billions of people use Facebook and Instagram because they have good experiences — they don”t want to see hateful content, our advertisers don”t want to see it, and we don”t want to see it. There is no incentive for us to do anything but remove it,” he said.

Facebook saw its market cap eroded in billions as more big brands boycotted its platform on Tuesday against the unchecked spread of hateful and disinformation on its platforms.

American food company Chobani, drug maker Pfizer and software major SAP were among the latest brands pulling who joined adidas, cleaning supply firm Clorox, Conagra (the maker of Slim Jim, Duncan Hines and Pam), fast food chain Denny”s, Ford and Starbucks to pull their ads from the platform.

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