Facebook Launches Campaign to Stop Hate Speech

On Monday, Facebook launched a campaign against hate speech and extremism called the “Online Civil Courage Initiative,” or OCCI for short. The campaign will focus on helping existing organizations that are fighting hate speech, along with building “best practices” for those organizations and putting money toward research. The move comes after a United Nations panel and others called on Facebook to do more in the fight against hate speech, extremism, and radicalization.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, announced the campaign at a press conference in Berlin on Monday evening. The initiative is also being sponsored by several NGOs from Europe, along with the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

“We have repeatedly emphasized that Facebook is no place for the dissemination of xenophobia, hate speech or calls for violence,” Sandberg said. “With this new initiative, we are convinced to better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the internet.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced a new campaign against hate speech and extremism on Monday. (Photo by Jolanda Flubacher)
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced a new campaign against hate speech and extremism on Monday.
(Photo by Jolanda Flubacher)

“The best cure for bad ideas are good ideas,” Sandberg went on to say. “The best remedy for hate is tolerance. Counter speech is incredibly strong — and it takes time, energy and courage.

Facebook has pledged over $1 million towards the campaign.

On the official OCCI Facebook page, people have been encouraged to share stories and ideas. A post dated 1/18/16 reads:

“Take a moment to share your story or idea supporting counter speech, with the goal of combatting online extremism and hate speech. In order to make change, everyone needs to feel empowered to share their voice and exercise ‪#‎civilcourage‬.”

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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.


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