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‘Hate speech button’ confuses Facebook users

A red thumbs down icon in the middle of many white thumbs up iconsImage copyrightGetty Images
Image caption Facebook says it is trialling new ways for users to interact with content

“Does this post contain hate speech?”

That is the message that thousands of Facebook users have reported seeing on their news feeds.

It seems to be only US-based users that can see the question, which is appearing under every post on their Facebook page.

‘Hate speech button’ confuses Facebook users
‘Hate speech button’ confuses Facebook users

While some have criticised the social media giant for the move, others are calling it a bug and pointing out the more unusual places where they have seen it appear.

A Facebook spokesperson said they were unable to comment at this time.

Skip Twitter post by @kansasalps

So, just to check, is everyone else’s Facebook asking them if LITERALLY EVERY POST IN THEIR TIMELINE IS HATE SPEECH? pic.twitter.com/hVVJjOh0Hi

— Andrea Peterson (@kansasalps) May 1, 2018

End of Twitter post by @kansasalps

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If users click “yes” to respond that the post does contain hate speech, they are presented with four options for feedback.

These options are “hate speech”, “test p1”, “test p2” and “test p3”, prompting some people to suggest that the form “clearly wasn’t supposed” to appear on Facebook in its current form.

Skip Twitter post by @LonestarTallBoi

when you click the “yes” button on the “Does this post contain hate speech?” prompt on facebook you’re presented with a form that clearly wasn’t supposed to be pushed to live.

What a terrible website. pic.twitter.com/s8OkovU78A

— Kay Fabe Hutchinson (@LonestarTallBoi) May 1, 2018

End of Twitter post by @LonestarTallBoi

Yet the hate speech button was criticised as suppression by some, with American writer Matt Walsh calling it an intentional move by Facebook to remove “conservative content”.

This is in light of accusations from Republican congressman Steve Scalise that Facebook’s algorithm was discriminating against conservative news and content in favour of liberal posts.

And Lebanese-American journalist Brigitte Gabriel labelled it an attempt by Facebook to “censor” her account.

Skip Twitter post by @ACTBrigitte

Facebook is censoring my account. Asking if my post contains “Hate Speech”

Give me a break. Opposing Radical Islam is NOT Hate Speech. pic.twitter.com/MNUBIWtXML

— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) May 1, 2018

End of Twitter post by @ACTBrigitte

But as others noticed the button appearing on all of the posts in their timeline, people began to share the funniest place they had seen the button appear.

Such places include posts about local churches, articles about Donald Trump, and even pictures which show the weather forecast.

And Washington Post journalist Gene Park shared this suggestion that a photo of a puppy might be somehow hateful.

Skip Twitter post by @GenePark

i mean this is hilarious pic.twitter.com/GDtUsrrlzU

— Gene Park (@GenePark) May 1, 2018

End of Twitter post by @GenePark

This comes as Facebook hosts its biggest event ever, with 5,000 developers flying in from around the world for the F8 developer conference on May 1-2.

This prompted social media journalist Matt Navarra to joke that even Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was not exempt from the hate speech button.

Skip Twitter post by @MattNavarra

Oh dear, Zuck#F8pic.twitter.com/S4uCFY3ErX

— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 1, 2018

End of Twitter post by @MattNavarra

By Tom Gerken, UGC & Social News

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