Science / Technology and Health

Seattle U in the News: Faculty Expert on Internet Hate Speech Comments on Facebook Audit

July 9, 2020

Caitlin Carlson, PhD, associate professor of Communication, was interviewed for Wall Street Journal story.

The Wall Street Journal today reported on an audit commissioned by Facebook that "urged it to improve artificial intelligence-based tools it uses to help identify problematic content such as hate speech, showcasing the current limits of technology in policing the world's largest social media platform," the story said.

Here is an additional excerpt from the story:

"The report, made public Wednesday, examined Facebook's approach to civil rights and criticized it as "too reactive and piecemeal," despite much-publicized investments in AI-based censors and human analysts trained to track down and remove harmful content.

"Facebook says that as of March those tools helped zap 89% of hate speech removed from the platform before users reported it, up from about 65% a year earlier, according to the report. But outside researchers argue it is still impossible to gauge just how many posts escape the dragnets on a platform so large.

'"I could just hop on [Facebook] right now and go to particular pages and find tons," said Caitlin Carlson, a communications professor at Seattle University who has studied hate speech on Facebook. "If the tech is getting so much better, why isn't Facebook getting so much better?"'