On Tuesday, Facebook accidentally made public an internal test feature that asks users if posts they see on their newsfeeds contain “hate speech.”
In what appeared to be a universal feature added to every Facebook account, a notification appeared below each post in an individual’s timeline asking, “Does this post contain hate speech?” with “Yes” and “No” buttons. You could even report yourself:
Clicking on “Yes” opened a new window that presented users with more options, labeled as “tests.”
Responding to a request for comment from Conservative Review, a spokesman for Facebook said that “this was an internal test we were working on to understand different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate. A bug caused it to launch publicly. It’s been disabled.”
Facebook Vice President of Product Guy Rosen explained further on Twitter.
Some people saw 'does this post contain hate speech' today on some posts. This was a test – and a bug that we reverted within 20 mins. It was shown for a short time on posts regardless of their content (like this one). pic.twitter.com/iuNKSVTOqQ
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) May 1, 2018
The ability of each user to flag a post as “hate speech” and alert Facebook’s censors set off alarm bells.
Facebook is now putting prompts under every post asking if it "contains hate speech." Well, that's it for conservative content on Facebook, which is their intent. If it's that easy to report a post for "hate speech," there will be no more conservative posts soon enough.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) May 1, 2018
So… Facebook now has a little button on EVERY SINGLE POST that asks people if it's hate speech, and there's no way this could possibly go wrong ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) May 1, 2018
Facebook is now asking people if posts on their feed "contain hate speech." Just imagine how abused this is going to be in a world that believes disagreement is hate?
— Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) May 1, 2018
Hey @facebook, I just clicked "YES" on an NBC news video about the Catholic Church containing hate speech.
It then gave me these options:
1. Hate Speech
2. Test P1
3. Test P2
4. Test P3
Maybe please stop being terrible & so, so stupid. pic.twitter.com/pQ1lyVr3FW
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 1, 2018
I see @facebook is now in the business of policing "hate speech."
Nothing can go wrong here. pic.twitter.com/NELdzyoGe1
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) May 1, 2018
Everything I don't like on Facebook is hate speech.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) May 1, 2018
— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) May 1, 2018
The notifications no longer appear below Facebook posts.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include reaction from Facebook users.
Conservative Review’s Rob Eno contributed to this report.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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