Facebook deletes only a tiny fraction of Arabic hate speech posted on its platforms because its systems are heavily skewed towards monitoring English language content, campaigners have warned.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the US-based Anti-Defamation League said the social media giant’s AI or artificial intelligence filter – which is designed to automatically remove content that is offensive or illegal – was deeply deficient in most regions where English is not the main language.
“It’s quite astonishing to consider that something like 87 percent of their AI is focused on English-language hate content,” Greenblatt said, “despite the fact that English language users – certainly American users – are somewhere in the ballpark of 10 percent of their user base.
“As I understand it, the numbers on their ability to understand hate speech in Arabic are astounding. They estimate that they get less than five percent of the hate speech in Arabic.”
Such low levels of detection are significant, he said, because of organisations such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which use social media extensively to organise their activities.
He was speaking on this week’s episode of the Jewish News Podcast, which considers the spread of anti-Jewish hate online and the failure of social media platforms, including Facebook, to eliminate it.
Greenblatt suggested that if organisations such as Facebook were not capable of policing their own content in other languages, they should not be operating in those regions.
“If Facebook doesn’t have the technical capabilities to be detecting the stuff that presents a clear and present danger to the Jewish community and other communities in these places, why are they allowed to operate there?
“You wouldn’t allow a car manufacturer in England if they didn’t reorient the steering capability to the side of car.”
This week’s edition of the Jewish News podcast also features input from the Imran Ahmed from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate and the Board of Deputies’ Daniel Sugarman. u Listen at jewishnews.co.uk
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.