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Facebook sued over police failure of anti-Muslim hate speech

Nonprofit group Muslim Advocates is suing Facebook, claiming the social media giant is failing to control hate speech, especially the “ ubiquitous ” anti-Muslim attacks.

A group that advocates for American Muslims has sued Facebook Inc., alleging that the company’s inability to enforce its own policies of moderation sparked a wave of anti-Muslim abuse.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Washington Superior Court, claims the world’s largest social network has failed to remove content that violates its hate speech rules, although it has assured lawmakers and others government officials to enforce these policies.

Google’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have generally been able to avoid lawsuits alleging that they failed to remove abusive content, under a 1996 federal law that broadly protects internet platforms from content liability. published by users.

But in this case, nonprofit group Muslim Advocates claims Facebook officials violated local consumer protection law by falsely promising the company would remove content that violated its standards. of moderation.

“Every day, ordinary people are bombarded with harmful content that violates Facebook’s own policies on hate speech, bullying, harassment, dangerous organizations and violence,” according to the lawsuit. “Hateful and anti-Muslim attacks are particularly prevalent.”

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, “We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook and work regularly with experts, nonprofits and stakeholders to make sure Facebook is a safe place. for everyone, recognizing that anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms. . The spokesperson said the company is investing in AI technologies to detect and remove hate speech on its platform.

Washington-based Muslim Advocates is one of many civil rights organizations that have repeatedly called on Facebook to do more to eradicate anti-Muslim bigotry and white supremacist content. Days after the Capitol riot in January, the group urged Facebook to permanently kick outgoing President Donald Trump from its platform for spreading “white nationalist hate and conspiracy theories.”

Muslim Advocates says it presented Facebook in 2017 with a list of 26 groups whose pages violate the company’s community standards. As of this month, 18 of those 26 groups still had pages available on Facebook, according to the complaint.

The advocacy group is seeking damages as well as a court declaration that Facebook broke the law in Washington.

(Updates with Facebook comment in the sixth paragraph)




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