Facebook’s head of policy management spoke at SXSW’s first Online Harassment Summit on Saturday, revealing that Facebook receives over 1 million violation reports every day from users.
Monika Bickert spoke at the panel about the delicate balance Facebook must strike in policing its content, noting that while automation may be in its future, the site believes real people are still best for finding offensive speech.
“You can criticize institutions, religions, and you can engage in robust political conversation,” she said. “But what you can’t do is cross the line into attacking a person or a group of people based on a particular characteristic… When it comes to hate speech, it’s so contextual… We think it’s really important for people to be making that decision.”
Bickert also said that every violation report is viewed by trained Facebook employees, and that the site prioritizes the review of posts that seek to “incite physical harm.” But she also acknowledged the challenges that the social media giant faces; with over 80 percent of its user base outside of the United States, Bickert noted that it can be difficult for Facebook to apply a universal rule about what is and is not offensive. She did not comment on the percentage of those 1 million daily reports Facebook that acts on, but it’s still a good thing for Facebook to devote such serious resources to the problem of online hate speech.