Facebook creates civil rights task force as review of policies continues.

COO Sheryl Sandberg will chair the cluster.


Facebook released the second update to its in progress civil rights audit.


Facebook is creating an internal civil rights task force permanent, COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a blog post Sunday, a choice that grew out of an ongoing review of the civil rights impact of the social network’s policies and practices. The task force, which includes key leadership and is to be chaired by Sandberg, will concentrate on Facebook’s content policies, the fairness of its AI, and problems relating to privacy and elections, areas Facebook have struggled with.


In her post, Sandberg said the social network was committed to recruiting people with civil rights experience to serve on the task force. as an example, it’ll work with voting rights experts to make sure the social network isn’t used to suppress or intimidate some voters.


The formalization of the task force, as well as recommendations on policing hate speech, new policies on advertisements and efforts to protect the integrity of elections and the 2020 census, were included within the company’s second progress report (PDF) on its civil rights audit, which was additionally revealed Sunday. The primary installment was published in December, and a third and final report is anticipated in the first half of next year.


“We will continue listening to feedback from the civil rights community and address the important problems they’ve raised so Facebook can better defend and promote the civil rights of everyone who uses our services,” Sandberg wrote in a draft of the post.


The civil rights audit comes as Facebook wrestles with complaints that it’s been used to target minority groups, stir white nationalism and discourage voting. 2 years ago, 19 civil rights groups, as well as Color of change, Muslim Advocates and the NAACP, expressed concern that Facebook had become a tool of Russian trolls seeking to divide U.S.A.

The groups additionally asked that Facebook bring in a third party to audit the civil rights impact of the company’s policies. The corporate agreed in May 2018, and Laura murphy, a civil liberties leader who worked with the ACLU for 2decades, has spearheaded the review.


Facebook has additionally been accused, by President Donald Trump among others, of censoring conservative voices.
Tensions between Facebook and civil rights groups escalated last year after The New York Times reported that PR firm Definers Public Affairs tried to discredit Facebook’s critics by linking them to George Soros, a Jewish billionaire who’s been the target of anti-Semitic and far-right conspiracy theories for championing progressive causes.


The ongoing audit has already resulted in policy changes at Facebook, which has over 2 billion users around the world. The December report showed the social network had beefed up efforts to combat voter suppression, as well as fake accounts designed to influence political views. In March, the social network prohibited white nationalist and white separatist content, saying such content couldn’t be “meaningfully separated from white supremacy and arranged hate groups.” The change was highlighted in Sunday’s report.


Meanwhile, Facebook’s technology, as well as AI, is getting better at recognizing hate speech on its own, the report said. As of March, Facebook removed over 65th of hate speech that it identified before a user reported it, over double the 24-karat gold figure from December 2017, in line with the report. The corporate may have a number of its content moderators focus on hate speech so that posts warning of hate speech aren’t unsuitably removed because they repeat problematic content.


The report also addressed changes to Facebook’s ad targeting system, as well as adjustments that make it more difficult for advertisers to exclude some groups from receiving housing, employment and credit ads. It additionally listed efforts to protect elections and encourage participation in the census.


In addition to the task force, Sandberg said the corporate would provide civil rights training to key workers working on relevant merchandise and policies. The training is meant to increase awareness of civil rights problems and build them into decisions.


“We know these are the primary steps to developing long-term accountability,” Sandberg wrote.

“We plan on making further changes to create a culture that explicitly protects and promotes civil rights on Facebook.”