The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has warned for more than a decade about the rampant hate speech and disinformation on Facebook, and how it harms our society through political unrest, body shaming, extremist ideology, and violence.
According to former Facebook Product Manager, Frances Haugen’s testimony on Facebook’s allocation of integrity spending,
“87 percent of all the misinformation spending is spent on English, but only about 9 percent of the users are English speakers. It seems that facebook invests more in users who make them more money, even though the danger may not be evenly distributed based on profitability.”
NHMC has met with Facebook countless times over the last several years to call for urgent action and resources to address Spanish-language disinformation and hate speech. Thanks to Ms. Haugen’s bravery, we now know that Facebook leadership was and is aware of the ongoing problem, but purposely failed to allocate equitable resources towards non-English language disinformation, hate speech, and other negative content targeting Latinx and other non-English speaking communities.
Additionally, revelations regarding Facebook and Instagrams’ amplification of harmful content to children and teens shows how little the company cares for vulnerable groups so long as they have a profit incentive. Teenagers who use the platforms have suffered from issues like body dysmorphia, self-harm, and even suicide. Facebook’s own research found that as teenagers consume harmful content they become more depressed, causing them to use the app more, and perpetuating a cycle of harm. But instead of modifying the platform’s algorithm to prevent these harms, Facebook continues to choose optimizing its own self-interest.
NHMC urges Congress to take immediate action against hate, violence, and disinformation, and hold Facebook and all platforms accountable through transparency requirements and the creation of a new regulatory government body. It is clear that Facebook cannot self-regulate, and for the sake of our children and the general public: Congress must act.
We cannot do this work alone. This is why we work with Change the Terms Coalition; Ya Basta, Facebook campaign; Stop Hate for Profit; and the Spanish Language Disinformation coalition to make sure we speak up on behalf of the Latinx Community. Will you join us?
- With Congress’ last major regulation efforts in regards to communication having been made over 25 years ago, we believe new legislation addressing the harms of well-developed social media platforms is long overdue. We call on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to pass legislation that works to properly regulate big tech companies.
- In conjunction with Congressional efforts to remedy the dangers of social media platforms, we believe that federal agencies including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should act immediately by using their existing authorities and initiate the rulemaking process to hold these platforms accountable now.