In the recent news, Kenya’s watchdog, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), has directed Facebook to stop the spread of hate speech on its platform within seven days or get banned in the East African country. Kenya’s watchdog was reacting to a report issued by advocacy group Global Witness, and Foxglove, a legal non-profit firm, which has explored Facebook’s inability to detect hate speech ads.
Facebook is Slow to Remove and Prevent Hate Speech, Claims Global Witness Report
Moreover, the Global Witness report confirmed NCIC’s own findings that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was slow to remove and prevent hate speech, provoking an already volatile political environment. The NCIC has now called on Meta to increase moderation before, during, and after the elections, while giving it one week to comply or be banned in the country. “Facebook is in violation of the laws of our country. They have allowed themselves to be a vector of hate speech and incitement, misinformation, and disinformation,” said NCIC commissioner Danvas Makori.
Furthermore, Global Witness and Foxglove also called on Meta to halt political ads, and to use “break glass” measures — the stricter emergency moderation methods it used to stem misinformation and civil unrest during the 2020 U.S. elections. In Kenya, Facebook has a penetration of 82%, making it the second most widely used social network after WhatsApp.
Kenya’s Watchdog Tests Facebook’s AI Models Conducting Moderation Process
To test Facebook’s claim that its AI models can detect hate speech, Global Witness presented 20 ads that called for violence and beheadings, in English and Swahili, all of which, except for one, were approved. The human rights group says it used ads because, unlike posts, they undergo a stricter review and moderation process. They could also take down ads before they went live.
“All of the ads we submitted violate Facebook’s community standards, qualifying as hate speech and ethnic-based calls to violence. Much of the speech was dehumanizing, comparing specific tribal groups to animals and calling for slaughter and beheading,” Global Witness said in a statement.