Facebook testing out a "hate speech" button, inadvertently launches it live

Facebook accidentally set a "hate speech" button live on its platform for a short period of time, a company spokesperson confirmed in a statement Tuesday. The button asked users: "Does this contain hate speech?"

The spokesperson said the company was conducting an "internal test" in an attempt to understand "different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate." They said a bug caused the button to launch publicly but it has since been disabled.

Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen explained on Twitter that the button was shown on posts regardless of their content but was "reverted" within 20 minutes.

31655608-2110863792262541-4178227593813688320-n.jpg
This image shows the "hate speech" button accidentally set live by Facebook on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Courtesy of Gary Wheelock

Facebook has recently come under fire for what critics say are a lack of action when it comes to curbing hate speech in developing countries. A recent report from The New York Times says violence in Sri Lanka has hit the nation particularly hard because Facebook rumors often lead to violent outcomes. The Times spoke with advocacy groups who flag alarming content to Facebook, but they say not much is being done.

The social media giant is holding its F8 Conference on Tuesday where CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he plans to share how his company is working to "keep people safe."

Featured in SciTech