Selena Gomez's private email to Facebook executives about misinformation and hateful content released

Asia's Tech News Daily

A private email Selena Gomez reportedly sent Facebook executives last year in an attempt to eliminate hateful content on the site has been obtained by the Wall Street Journal

According to the publication, the actress and signer contacted co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to urge them to take action against negative messages she and many other users were receiving on the platform.

© Getty Selena Gomez contacted Facebook in October 2020.

Sandberg reportedly responded to the email, saying Facebook’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) detected 91 per cent of the 1.5 million posts it removed for violating its policy on hate speech. But Gomez thinks it’s not enough.

“You refuse to even mention, let alone address, the problem Facebook has with white supremacists and bigots,” the 29-year-old wrote in an email dated October 10, 2020. She also stressed that groups “full of hate and lies” might lead “people being hurt or, even worse, killed”. 

© Getty Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Gomez’s email came weeks after she publicly called out social media sites Facebook and Instagram in October 2020 for not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation and hate online.

“Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry,” she wrote back in September.

“I am calling you both to HELP STOP THIS. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it.”

© Getty Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, of Facebook.

“We cannot afford to have misinformation about voting,” she continued. “There has to be fact-checking and accountability. Hope to hear back from you ASAP.”

Gomez’s email was among the many documents released as part of the WSJ‘s story about Facebook using AI to detect hate speech. According to the publication, two years ago the social media giant cut human reviewers on hate speech in favour of AI technology.

However, the problem with this technology is AI reportedly has trouble consistently identifying the differences between harmful videos, like shootings and car crashes. 

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