Facebook has consistently been accused of doing too little to stop the spread of hatred and disinformation, and he could soon face a legal battle as a result. The non-profit press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (aka Reporters Without Borders, or RSF) has followed Facebook in France for allegedly violating the country’s consumer code with “deceptive” promises to fight hate speech and lies. The social network claims to offer a “safe” and “error-free” space, according to RSF, but in practice allows hatred and disinformation to spread.
The journalism group cited examples where hatred and disinformation were allowed to spread in France. As Facebook says so prohibits misinformation about vaccines, for example, the nonprofit First Draft labeled the social media giant as a “hub” for vaccine plots in the country. He also let the COVID-19 conspiracy videos go largely unchecked, according to a AFP to study.
RSF further claimed that Facebook had done little to stop hate speech and threats against Charlie hebdo (target of the 2015 massacre), the television show Daily and the newspaper The union. UNESCO had judge Facebook is the “least safe” place for women journalists, RSF added.
We asked Facebook for a comment.
There is no guarantee that a case like this will succeed. Facebook may point to new and improved tools that help it catch and report bullying, hate speech and disinformation, not to mention the history of outright deletion of certain messages. At least it’s striving for safety and precision, even if that doesn’t contradict everything. The lawsuit may depend on convincing the court that Facebook could do more.
If the trial is successful, however, it could have repercussions far beyond France. As RSF points out, Facebook’s terms of service are similar around the world – any mandatory changes can apply anywhere. The legal battle alone could push Facebook to step up its efforts, or at least defend its existing practices.