Facebook accused of failing to detect hate speech ahead of elections

The ads featured vices such as: ethnic violence, rape, slaughter and beheading.

TOPSHOT - An opposition supporter reacts under the heavy rain in front of a burning barricade in Mathare district, in Nairobi on October 26, 2017, as a group of demonstrators blocked the road and tried to prevent voters from accessing a polling station during presidential elections. (Photo by LUIS TATO/AFP via Getty Images)

With less than two weeks to go to the election, Facebook is in hot water after an investigation concluded that the social media app failed to detect hate speech ads in Swahili and English.

According to Global Witness and legal non-profit Foxglove, some of the ads that failed to be detected included vices like ethnic violence, rape, slaughter and beheading.

“It is appalling that Facebook continues to approve hate speech ads that incite violence and fan ethnic tensions on its platform,” said Nienke Palstra, Senior Campaigner in the Digital Threats to Democracy Campaign at Global Witness.

According to the investigations, a total of 20 ads were submitted in both languages with 17 approved. The three detected violated their Grammar and Profanity Policy.

Foxglove then made the grammatical changes as well as removed the insults, when done, Facebook approved the ads despite the fact they had hate speech.

“In the lead up to a high stakes election in Kenya, Facebook claims its systems are even more primed for safety – but our investigation once again shows Facebook’s staggering inability to detect hate speech ads on its platform,” said Palstra.

Foxglove further stated that majority of the words used were quite dehumanising as they highlighted on several sensitive areas, however the company denied to publish the phrases in the report.

A response to the allegations was provided by Meta, Facebook’s parent company saying the team has taken “extensive steps to help Meta catch hate speech and inflammatory content in Kenya” and that they’re “intensifying these efforts ahead of the election.”

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

Prime Minister of Ethiopia, first Head of State to congratulate Ruto

Prime Minister of Ethiopia, first Head of State to congratulate Ruto

Chebukati is the hero of this election - Ruto praises IEBC chairperson in victory speech

Chebukati is the hero of this election - Ruto praises IEBC chairperson in victory speech

Officials have been injured, abducted, arrested - Chebukati

Officials have been injured, abducted, arrested - Chebukati

Celebrations as Chebukati declares Ruto as President-elect [Video]

Celebrations as Chebukati declares Ruto as President-elect [Video]

4 IEBC commissioners distance themselves from presidential elections results

4 IEBC commissioners distance themselves from presidential elections results

The elections have been tampered with - Azimio claims

The elections have been tampered with - Azimio claims

Reinstated Kenyatta University VC sacked by university council

Reinstated Kenyatta University VC sacked by university council

Let's meet in court - Kwale Governor elect tells opponents

Let's meet in court - Kwale Governor elect tells opponents

Kiraitu Murungi sworn in to new job after losing Meru Governor seat

Kiraitu Murungi sworn in to new job after losing Meru Governor seat