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Big Tech colludes on a common definition of “hate speech”

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For a long time now, Big Tech social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have done their own internal audits when it comes to reporting on how they are controlling so-called “hate speech” across their platforms. But now, these platforms have finally caved and are allowing third-party auditing in order to satisfy their advertisers.

The specifics of the deal that have finally been worked out by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). It says that social media platforms will now have to undergo an internal audit when it comes to aspects such as how they categorize, report, and eliminate “harmful” content.

It is worth noting that the deal was materialized due to the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, a group for lobbying social media platforms towards tackling “misinformation” and hate speech online.

These independent reviews will either be completed by the year’s end, or at least an actionable plan might be laid for the same by then. What’s more, advertisers will also get greater control over the kind of content they would want their brands and businesses to associate with.

“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline,” said the CEO of WFA Stephan Loerke.

Advertisers have constantly complained about the fact that their ads were appearing alongside hateful content and how that could tarnish the image of their brand or business in the eyes of customers.

Both Facebook and YouTube have recently been under fire as advertisers ended up boycotting and avoiding these platforms, saying that hate speech concerns and instances of misinformation weren’t handled effectively during times of COVID-19 and the George Floyd riots.

The boycott had negligible impact on Facebook as it went on to have a record quarter.

“This is not a declaration of victory. There is much work to be done and we rely on all of our platform partners to follow through on their commitments with the pace and urgency these issues demand,” said Jacqui Stephenson, the global responsible marketing officer at Mars, a company that has actively boycotted Facebook in the past.

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