Facebook is in early stages of overhauling its algorithms in order to more aggressively crack down on anti-Black hate speech, while less-aggressively policing anti-White comments.
Nathan Matias, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, studies algorithms and the role of digital technologies in advancing or hindering the public interest. Matias says Facebook needs to conduct rigorous research of its algorithm overhaul before we can be confident in what its impact will ultimately be.
“Hate speech is a serious problem that can spread prejudice, inflame violence, and suppress civic participation. When tech companies develop policies designed to manage hate and harassment, they owe it to the public to do evidence-based governance.
“So far, the quantitative claims in the company's public reports and civil rights audits have been too vague to interpret clearly. Unless Facebook commits to conducting rigorous research on the impact of their new policies and openly releasing the results of those studies for independent verification, the results of these changes will be impossible to distinguish from window dressing.”