Briefing

Facebook spending $500,000 over five years to create Ontario-based global anti-hate network

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The tech firm is giving the funds to the Ontario Tech University’s Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism, which will use it to create one staff position and research online extremism and ways to prevent it. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The funding comes as the tech firm is under pressure from governments worldwide, civil rights groups and corporations over hate being spread on its platform. Earlier this month, a number of leading civil rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change accused Facebook of failing to stop the spread of hate on its platform. And Canada’s big five banks joined some of the world’s largest firms in boycotting the platform. The company is making certain changes in response. At a press conference Tuesday, Facebook said it will prevent the posting of discriminatory ads for housing, jobs and credit in Canada. The firm has unsuccessfully attempted to do so several times in recent years. The centre will look into incel groups and far-right violent extremists, among others. Professor Barbara Perry, who leads the centre, said Facebook has put no restrictions on the research. “We have been critical of their response [to the spread of extremism], and will continue to be where warranted. But we are also concerned with pushing them forward. Our work has already informed their concrete actions in deplatforming particular groups, and that part of our partnership will continue to bear fruit,” Perry told The Logic.