Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ:META), the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has been accused of downplaying the extent of harmful content circulated on its platforms, according to newly unsealed court documents.
What Happened: The lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta claims that the tech giant significantly underreported the prevalence of hate speech, misinformation, discrimination, and other harmful content on Facebook and Instagram, reported by Business Insider.
The complaint, filed on behalf of 33 states, accuses Meta of publishing quarterly Community Standards Enforcement Reports or CSER that portray low rates of community standards violations.
The company allegedly excludes vital data from internal user experience surveys, indicating much higher user encounters with harmful content.
For instance, Meta’s CSER report suggested that only 0.10% to 0.11% of content views on its platforms included hate speech.
However, the complaint points out that Meta’s internal user survey reported significantly higher levels of hate speech, with 19.3% of Instagram users and 17.6% of Facebook users reporting encounters with hate speech or discrimination.
Moreover, it is alleged that Meta uses these reports to create a false impression that harmful content isn’t rampant on its platforms. The complaint was compiled using snippets from internal emails, employee chats, and company presentations.
Why It Matters: This isn’t the first time Meta’s content moderation and reporting practices have been scrutinized.
Earlier this month, a Meta whistleblower, Arturo Bejar, publicly criticized the company’s handling of teen safety issues on Instagram, specifically referring to the tragic case of Molly Russell.
Bejar alleged that top executives, including Meta CEO, ignored his repeated warnings about the platform’s safety inadequacies.
Previously, a study conducted following Kenya’s August elections indicated that Meta failed to uphold its election integrity pledges. The study found that misinformation and disinformation flooded Meta’s platforms after the voting ended.
The report pointed out flaws in content labeling, which failed to stop the spreading of false propaganda.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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