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Facebook agrees to audit its hate speech controls


The move comes as major advertisers such as Unilever (ULVR.L) and Starbucks (SBUX.O) have signed on to the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign started by U.S. civil rights groups, which urges brands to pause their Facebook ads in July to pressure the social media giant to do more to take down hate speech.


Media Rating Council (MRC), a media measurement firm, will conduct the audit to evaluate how it protects advertisers from appearing next to harmful content and the accuracy of Facebook’s reporting in certain areas.


The scope and timing of the audit were still being finalized, Facebook said.


Facebook hosted a call with advertisers on Tuesday, which included Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity, and Neil Potts, public policy director.


The executives told the group Facebook would include a new data point about the prevalence of hate speech in its Community Standards Enforcement Report, which details how the company takes down content that violates policy, said Barry Lowenthal, chief executive of ad agency The Media Kitchen, who attended the call.


Lowenthal said while he believed Facebook had taken many steps toward tampering down hate speech, the problem has become so large that it may require more drastic measures to fix.


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