The Facebook Messenger app is getting a new tab that will allow users to report inappropriate messages sent across the platform. Messages that harass, promote hate speech, or involve sensitive issues such as suicide are in Facebook’s firing line. The change follows a joint letter to Mark Zuckerberg from 6 organizations in Myanmar. The letter highlighted the social network’s role in the spread of hate speech in the region.
Facebook is pretty much the entire internet in Myanmar, with most people only ever logging on to the social network. Despite Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook AI was actively protecting communities in Myanmar, the organizations pointed out that the internet giant was, in fact, doing very little. The ongoing Rohingya crisis in Northern Myanmar means the region is still at risk as racial and ethnic tensions remain high.
Zuckerberg apologized, acknowledging that Facebook AI was not saving lives and that local organizations were truly responsible for holding back disaster. With fake news stories of ethnic clashes spreading across Messenger, however, there is something that Facebook can do to help. This new tab for reporting hate speech seems to be an attempt at just that.
The new Messenger tab will allow users to report inappropriate messages. Once they’ve made the complaint, Facebook will review the content, using a team of people that will cover 50 languages.
In a blog post, Facebook laid out how to flag messages using the new tab:
“You can now access the reporting tool directly from any Messenger conversation on iOS or Android by:
1) Tapping the name of the person or group with whom you’re having a conversation.
2) Scroll to Something’s Wrong
3) Select from several categories such as harassment, hate speech, or pretending to be someone else.
You can also choose to ignore or block the person you are reporting. After completing your report, you’ll receive a confirmation that it was successfully submitted for review.”
This represents a good start, but with the UN determining that Facebook has played a determining role in the Rohingya crisis, the social network still has a long way to go.