Facebook accidentally rolls out feature to flag any post as ‘hate speech’

· May 1, 2018  
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sue seecof | Flickr

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:

Facebook "hate speech" report screenshot

Clicking on “Yes” opened a new window that presented users with more options, labeled as “tests.”

Hate speech test screenshot

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.

Recently, Facebook has faced criticism from conservatives for censoring speech, manipulating user news feeds, and suppressing certain stories as “spam.”

The ability of each user to flag a post as “hate speech” and alert Facebook’s censors set off alarm bells.

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. 

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Author: Chris Pandolfo

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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