In the first of its kind, social media giant Facebook has agreed to turn over user information and IP addresses to the French courts of those promoting hate speeches. The decision was made after a series of discussions in May between Mark Zuckerberg and French President Emmanuel Macron to help curb and stop hateful content and false information from being spread. Zuckerberg and Macron want to take the lead role in the regulation of hate speeches globally. In the past, Facebook has cooperated with French officials with turning over the information of suspected terrorists.
According to CNA, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O stated, “ Facebook has agreed to hand over the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform to judges,” O stated.
According to Dunya News, Sonia Cisse, counsel at the law firm Linklaters, stated, “hate speech is no longer considered part of freedom of speech, it’s now on the same level as terrorism.” Cisse continued to state, “it is a strong signal in terms of regulation.”
In the last year, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have come under fire in the wake of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and for political bias. President Trump has weighed in on political bias by tech giants like Facebook and Google. President Trump on Twitter expressed his opinion over the tech giants and said, “they should be sued by the US government for basis.”
Christopher Hughes, co-founder of Facebook has voiced his own concerns about Facebook. Hughes has called for the company to break -up. During a CNBC interview, Huges stated, “since Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are not being accountable to investors, consumers, and the government.” Hughes continued, “ the social media giant is too powerful and the era of self-regulation is over.”
In March, Mark Zuckerberg created a new manifesto a public memo titled “A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking. The manifesto included private interactions, safety, secure data storage, interoperability, reducing permanence, and encryption. Zuckerberg stated, “public social networks will continue to be very important in people’s lives .”
Nick Bilton, a writer for Vanity Fair who has covered Zuckerberg and Facebook from the very beginning of its creation is also concerned about the tech giant. According to Bilton even going back to Zuckerberg’s Harvard days that he was amazed that people would trust him with their personal information and photos. As time went by the company grew it turned into a multi-billion dollar company. In 2011, Zuckerberg settled with the Federal Trade Commission on charges that the company misled consumers that their data was private when it wasn’t.
According to CNET, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg has stressed that the company wants to be involved in new rules for the internet and said,” companies like ours shouldn’t make as many decisions as we do. Sandberg continued, new rules need to be written for the internet and we want to help make that happen.”
Facebook does have a community standards policy does not allow hate speech. According to Facebook’s policies, hate speeches can cause a hostile environment for users and can result in real violence. Facebook defines hate speeches as direct attacks on other users based on race, religion, national origin, caste, sex, gender identity, gender, serious disease or disability. The tech giant reviews reports received for hate speeches and use three tiers system to determine the severity of reported posts.