Report: Facebook Failed To Block Ads Containing Death Threats

December 1, 2022

A report released Thursday found that Facebook failed to block 15 out of 20 ads that contained death threats to election workers, according to research submitted to test the social media site’s enforcement efforts.

A team comprised of investigators from Global Witness and NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy found that Facebook accepted almost all of the ads they submitted that included hate speech on the day of or the day before Election Day this year. 

The ads included real examples of threats that had been made against election workers, including statements that threatened, “people would be killed, hanged or executed, and that children would be molested.”

The research found Facebook approved nine out of 10 English language ads and six out of ten Spanish language ads with threats. 

A spokesperson for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, issued a statement saying the research included a “small sample of ads” and is “not representative of what people see on our platforms,” adding, “We remain committed to continuing to improve our systems.”

The same research team also submitted the same ads to TikTok and YouTube and found both platforms suspended its accounts for violating their policies.

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