Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has implemented sweeping changes to how users upload content and determining what is and is not acceptable to post. They have been trying to create more consistency in these decisions as several users complain that some inappropriate content is allowed to stay on the site while similar content is tagged as offensive and is taken down.
Facebook announced that they were working on a “hate speech” button that would allow users to flag a post that the user perceived as hateful speech.
There has no timetable for when this feature might be added, but a Facebook spokesperson acknowledged Tuesday morning that the company had inadvertently made the feature live for a short period of time.
The button asked users, “Does this contain hate speech?” According to the spokesperson, this feature was in the “initial testing” phase and a bug in Facebook’s software published the feature well before they were ready for it to go into effect.
The feature is reportedly looking at “different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate” to make sure they have a solid system to easily distinguish speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
For the short time that the feature was enabled, users tested the feature. If they clicked on “yes,” indicating the post did feature hate speech, they would then be directed to a second page with three options: “test p1”, “test p2” and “test p3.”
At this point, viewers came to the conclusion that the feature clearly wasn’t ready to be used. That didn’t stop some users from having a little fun though. One user added a picture of puppies and asked Facebook if the post had hate speech in it. Hopefully, the answer was no.
According to the BBC, conservatives claim this feature would be used to suppress their political ideology, but Facebook has stoutly denied this.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress to discuss his company and the Cambridge Analytica situation. The “hate speech” feature is only one of many changes the company has implemented or hopes to implement in the near future.