Facebook’s Status Update: We’ve Hit Two Billion Users (We’re Also Deleting 66K Hate Speech Posts Weekly)

USA Today reports:

It’s the biggest status update ever from Mark Zuckerberg: Two billion people — more than a quarter of the world’s population — hang out on Facebook at least once a month.

The milestone that Zuckerberg announced Tuesday is all the more remarkable because no other Internet company has ever reached it. If Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous.

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people!” he said in a Facebook post announcing the milestone. “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you.”

Yet in an interview at his company’s Silicon Valley headquarters, the Facebook CEO downplayed the significance of reaching 2 billion users, instead focusing on what the giant social network has yet to accomplish: Wiring the entire planet.

Also today, Facebook posted this:

We’re committed to removing hate speech any time we become aware of it. Over the last two months, on average, we deleted around 66,000 posts reported as hate speech per week — that’s around 288,000 posts a month globally. (This includes posts that may have been reported for hate speech but deleted for other reasons, although it doesn’t include posts reported for other reasons but deleted for hate speech.*) But it’s clear we’re not perfect when it comes to enforcing our policy. Often there are close calls — and too often we get it wrong.

Sometimes, it’s obvious that something is hate speech and should be removed – because it includes the direct incitement of violence against protected characteristics, or degrades or dehumanizes people. If we identify credible threats of imminent violence against anyone, including threats based on a protected characteristic, we also escalate that to local law enforcement.

But sometimes, there isn’t a clear consensus — because the words themselves are ambiguous, the intent behind them is unknown or the context around them is unclear. Language also continues to evolve, and a word that was not a slur yesterday may become one today.

What does the statement “burn flags not fags” mean? While this is clearly a provocative statement on its face, should it be considered hate speech? For example, is it an attack on gay people, or an attempt to “reclaim” the slur? Is it an incitement of political protest through flag burning? Or, if the speaker or audience is British, is it an effort to discourage people from smoking cigarettes (fag being a common British term for cigarette)? To know whether it’s a hate speech violation, more context is needed.

There’s much more at their link about the struggle to determine context.