Regulating hate speech in Asia-Pacific – UQ News


Australian researchers are calling on Facebook to step up its consultation with minority groups and better train its internal moderators in responding to hate speech online in the Asia-Pacific region.

The results of the first regional study funded by Facebook show that, despite automated moderation and improved content standards, the platform still allows defamation and discrimination to proliferate on public pages, with inadequate mechanisms for it. remedy.

Co-author Professor Katharine Gelber from the University of Queensland School of Political Science and International Studies said the social media giant had adjusted its definition of hate speech to be more nuanced.

“Facebook has made great strides in recent years to tackle hate speech on its platform,” Professor Gelber said.

“But the main issues are, first, that it does not have enough local contextual knowledge or inputs, and second, it relies on a globally unique definition for reporting hateful content.”

The study Regulation of hate speech in Asia-Pacific analyzed a sample of public pages administered by LGBTQ + groups in India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Australia and found that most felt they had little or no support from the community. platform when they were targeted by hate speech.

It has been found that in India, Indonesia and the Philippines in particular, LGBTQ + groups are exposed to an unacceptable level of discriminatory, hateful and threatening messages, which escape the filters of Facebook machines.

Professor Gelber said the authors at UQ and the University of Sydney would like Facebook to play a more proactive role in moderating hate speech.

“Our recommendations focus on better local contribution, better recognition of the context-dependent nature of hate speech, and better support for page administrators who report problematic content,” she said.

“They feel untrained and unsupported, and they also feel that sometimes trying to tackle hate speech puts them even more at risk.”

Professor Gelber said the government also has an important role to play.

“But because so much is happening on private platforms, what is needed right now is a multi-level approach where users, community organizations, platforms and government all play a role in mediating. and repairing harmful speech online, ”she said.

“We hope to raise awareness of the scale and scale of the problem in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We also hope to start an ongoing dialogue with organizations like Facebook to help them develop better policy to tackle harmful speech over time.”

This study was funded as part of the Facebook Content Policy Research on Social Media Awards to examine Facebook’s challenges in regulating hate speech in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the first team of Australian sociologists to receive Facebook funding for social media research, and the first integrated comparative study of hate speech on Facebook in these many countries in the region. The report can be found here.

Media: Professor Kath Gelber,, +61 (0) 7 3365 2910; Jane Braslin, +61 (0) 404 385355, UQ Communications,, +61 (0) 7 3365 3439.

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