Report: Facebook lists Breitbart, Fox News, President Trump, Ben Shapiro in an internal “hate bait” dashboard

Facebook has reportedly branded 10 popular conservative pages as "hate bait."

Tired of censorship and surveillance?

Defend free speech and individual liberty online. Push back against Big Tech and media gatekeepers. Subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Facebook reportedly maintains an internal “hate bait” dashboard and the top 10 entries are all conservative pages and publishers, according to BuzzFeed News.

In an article describing this dashboard, BuzzFeed News claimed that Breitbart, Fox News, The Daily Caller, USA Patriots for Donald Trump, Donald Trump for President, Donald J. Trump, Ben Shapiro, Conservative Tribune by WJ, US Chronicle, and The Western Journal were recently listed as the top 10 US pages on Facebook’s hate bait dashboard.

According to the report, this hate bait dashboard monitors US pages that are “responsible for the largest concentrated volume of likely violating Hate Speech comments” over a recent 14 day period.

Facebook’s determination of “hate speech” is vague and subjective. Facebook’s enforcement of its hate speech rules also varies depending on who the statement is targeted at and who is making the statement.

Yet this report suggests that even if pages don’t violate Facebook’s vague and subjective hate speech rules, they could still end up on this hate bait dashboard.

The metric described in the report focuses on user comments and not posts from the page. This suggests that the user comments which pages have no control over ultimately determine whether a page is added to the hate bait dashboard.

And according to this metric, these comments don’t even have to violate Facebook’s hate speech rules. Instead, a large volume of “likely violating” comments can lead to a page being included on the hate bait dashboard.

BuzzFeed News didn’t outline who determines when a page has a large volume of “likely violating” comments. However, the former Facebook data scientist that shared the data from this hate bait dashboard argued that Facebook’s current approach isn’t going to solve most of “our integrity problems.”

They also claimed that the 22 million posts that Facebook removes for hate speech each quarter represents less than 5% of the total hate speech posted to the platform (Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity disputed this characterization), accused Facebook of propping up hate speech, and claimed that posts from pages on Facebook’s hate bait dashboard are being rewarded for “eliciting endless volumes of hateful vile comments.”

Another former member of Facebook’s policy organization who is cited in the article claimed that “right-leaning US accounts are far more likely than others to engage in hate speech and violence incitement and far more likely to spread misinformation.”

The purported existence of Facebook’s internal hate bait dashboard follows previous reports about other secretive internal “hate” lists that Facebook maintains. Some of these other lists include a “hate agents” list (which Facebook uses to decide whether to ban certain users) and a “hate domains” list (Facebook users are banned from praising, supporting, or representing websites on this list).

Like with this hate bait dashboard, most of the people and websites on these other internal Facebook lists are conservatives with the conservative commentators Candace Owens and Paul Joseph Watson and the conservative author Brigitte Gabriel all being hate agents, according to Facebook.

These comments from former Facebook employees are also reflective of other reports that describe employees pressuring the company to censor more conservative content because they believe it’s hate speech or “misinformation.”

In June, before Facebook had censored President Trump for the first time, Facebook moderators complained about hate speech on the platform and called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor President Trump.

And in August, after Facebook had censored a viral America’s Frontline Doctors press conference that was shared by Breitbart, Facebook employees attempted to get Breitbart removed as a news partner by invoking Facebook’s coronavirus misinformation rules.

If you're tired of censorship and dystopian threats against civil liberties, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Tired of censorship and surveillance?

Defend free speech and individual liberty online. Push back against Big Tech and media gatekeepers. Subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

Read more