Washington, DC | September 18, 2019 – Nearly nine months after a whistleblower supported by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) filed a petition with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding Facebook’s deception of shareholders and the public regarding terror and hate content on its website, the whistleblower has filed a supplement showing further deception. The supplemental filing shows that after assuring Congress that it is removing terror and hate content from its website as quickly as it is identified, Facebook continues to create terror and hate content for these extremist groups.
The supplemental report details how despite Facebook’s insistence it systematically removes terror content, it in fact auto-generates business pages for numerous terror and hate groups, including groups affiliated with ISIS and al Qaeda, in addition to allowing these groups to disseminate their own materials extensively. As of September 11, 2019, nearly 191 auto-generated pages for ISIS and the Islamic State were still up and active. None of these pages identified in the supplemental filing were caught by Facebook’s automated detection program despite Facebook alleging it was designed to do just that.
John Kostyack, Executive Director of NWC, stated,
Facebook would like us to believe that its magical algorithms are somehow scrubbing its website of extremist content. Yet those very same algorithms are auto-generating pages with titles like ‘I Love Islamic State,’ which are ideal for terrorists to use for networking and recruiting.
The whistleblower petition, filed with the SEC in January 2019, was released to the public by the National Whistleblower Center and reported on by the Associated Press in an explosive story in May 2019. The AP released a follow up story today. The original SEC filing and AP story led Representative Max Rose (D-NY) to excoriate Facebook during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing for its lack of urgency in removing terrorist content from its platform. Facebook’s Monica Bickert testified before that same committee on June 26, 2019 claiming that Facebook is acting aggressively to remove terror and hate content, but the supplemental whistleblower report shows that Facebook is leaving significant amounts of extremist content intact and, in actuality, adding new extremist content.
John Kostyack continued, saying,
Each day that these pro-terror pages created by Facebook remain on its website, terror and hate groups benefit. It is time for the SEC to rein in Facebook’s deception of its shareholders and the public on its approach to terrorism and white supremacy. Facebook should be forced to come clean about the failures of its algorithms and begin taking meaningful steps to prevent extremist propaganda from proliferating.
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