Broker Check

Hate Speech Online

July 16, 2020

According to Cyber Security Intelligence, an audit Facebook commissioned of its civil rights record found "serious setbacks" in how the network deals with hate speech, misinformation (also known as fake news) and bias.

The audit was led by a former American Civil Liberties Union executive Laura Murphy. While it found Facebook has made progress in dealing with civil rights issues, it has been willing to exempt politicians from its rules, allowing  them to spread misinformation and worse. More than 900 companies have joined an advertising boycott of Facebook.

In a business context, engaging in online hate speech is a bad idea. Whether using company platforms or social media, individuals who identify their employers can damage brand reputation and risk penalties including termination. Free speech is a constitutional right, but self-censorship is good practice. If you need to express your personal opinion online, be respectful and do not knowingly spread false information.