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Zuckerberg: Facebook will prohibit hate speech in its ads

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Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, October 23, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said the company will change its policies to prohibit hate speech in its advertisements.

Under its new policies, Facebook will ban ads that claim people from a specific race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety or health of anyone else, Zuckerberg said. 

“I am committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues,” Zuckerberg said. “But I also stand against hate or anything that incites violences or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that content too, no matter where it comes from.”

Additionally, Zuckerberg said Facebook will do more to protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads that suggest they are inferior to other groups of people or from ads that express contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them. 

Zuckerberg’s comments come after nearly 100 brands announced that they would pull their advertising from Facebook for the month of July or longer as part a movement called #StopHateForProfit. That movement protests “Facebook’s repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.” Zuckerberg did not directly address the boycotts on Friday.

These advertisers include Unilever, Verizon, Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants. The group of organizations includes the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

Facebook’s stock was down more than 6% on Friday. 

Additionally, Zuckerberg on Friday announced that Facebook will now label content that it decides to leave up because it is deemed newsworthy and valuable to the public interest, even if it otherwise violates the company’s policies. Facebook users who try to share that content will see a prompt letting them know that the content they’re sharing may violate the company’s policies.

“Often, seeing speech from politicians is in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms,” Zuckerberg said in a post. 

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