Facebook Deletes Antigay Hate Speech

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 13 2010 10:20 AM ET

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that it has worked successfully with Facebook to remove antigay hate speech from a page that commemorates recent gay youth suicides and calls for a day of remembrance this month.

The hateful comments appeared on the page “R.I.P.: In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple,” which called for members to wear purple October 20. The event drew 700,000 RSVPs, but it also attracted hateful statements and imagery.

According to GLAAD, which contacted Facebook last week after receiving more than 1,800 complaints, the social networking giant agreed to monitor the page closely for violations in terms of service. As of Wednesday, new measures have been adopted to respond more quickly to hate speech and to monitor activity.

“Educating people about the lasting and damaging impacts of ignorant and hateful comments is a responsibility shared by parents, educators, organizations like GLAAD, and services like Facebook,” said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes in a statement reported by GLAAD. “We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to reports of inappropriate content and behavior. The goal of these policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints — even those that may be controversial to some — and maintaining a safe and trusted environment. We have policies that prohibit hateful content and we have built a robust reporting infrastructure and an expansive team to review reports and remove content quickly. In addition to responding to reports, we have automated systems that use a number of factors to flag content that might violate our policies, so we can review and take it down as quickly as possible and before it’s reported.”