Oopsie! were you one of the many Facebook users who happened to be on at just the right moment to witness the “accidental” beta release of the new Hate Speech button? Lots of my friends were there at precisely 10 a.m. By the time I wandered in, the button had magically disappeared. But the questions and the angst had just begun:
Here’s a snippet from the New York Daily News:
An internal Facebook test asking users if they thought a status featured hate speech went public by accident Tuesday for a brief amount of time, but it was long enough to incite outrage among some users.
A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to the Daily News that the company was trying “to understand different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate.”
The images showed a yellow icon and an exclamation point and the message: “Does this post contain hate speech?”
The Facebook rep added that a “bug caused it to launch publicly,” but has since been disabled.
Some were furious with what they thought was a new feature, however, arguing the embattled Silicon Valley behemoth was censoring their speech.
“Facebook is censoring my account. Asking if my post contains ‘Hate Speech,'” tweeted conservative activist Brigitte Gabriel. “Give me a break.”
The feature appeared only momentarily for some, but it was enough for them to worry their freedom of speech was getting taken away.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t address the new option in a lengthy post about users’ options to clear history on the social media platform — as the company grapples with the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
But several accounts questioned the feature’s practicality.
“How do you get to define what is or isn’t a hate speech? Who makes that call and what does it mean?” questioned Mohaned Farah. “I’m not quite sure about that functionality.” Source
What is “hate speech” anyway? Here’s how Wikipedia defines it:
No word on how Maark Zuckerberg is defining hate speech.
Was this really an “accidental” release, or is Facebook dipping a toe in to gauge user reaction?
If When this goes live, will the button be used as a weapon against views people don’t agree with? Probably. Already some Facebook users were urging their friends to go on over to XYZ political site and mark posts and comments as hate speech.
What concerns do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments section.