Facebook makes a big deal about having zero tolerance for bullying and harassment on its platform. However, according to the results of a six-month CNN investigation, the company doesn’t do as much as it could to combat this behavior.
The investigation examined several cases where harassment went unpunished. In one instance, a mother of three urged people on Facebook to get vaccinated. As a result, she was inundated with anti-vaxxer hate, including a graphic message that called her the n-word and offered instructions on killing herself. After she reported the message, Facebook banned the attacker from using Messenger for 30 days, but did not boot them from the platform. Only after CNN contacted Facebook about the case did the user’s account get removed.
Experts have expressed skepticism that Facebook couldn’t figure out a better solution to this problem than simply relying on users to self-police.
“If these people are supposed to be the best computer engineers in the whole world and they can’t write a program that flags a comment that tells someone to kill herself and calls her the n-word — that seems implausible to me,” Andrew Marantz, the author of a book called Antisocial, told CNN. “It really takes a lot of chutzpah and victim blaming to assert that the onus has to be on the victims.”
Like with so many of its problems, Facebook seemingly wants to pass the buck and avoid having to tackle complicated issues. However, as the largest social media company in the world, it has a responsibility to do just that.
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