Facebook blames ‘bug’ for strange hate speech prompt


Earlier today, an error triggered Facebook to ask users whether every post on their News Feed contained hate speech.

People started noticing the mysterious glitch this afternoon and posted about it on social media. More irate users thought it was being used as a means to censor certain content.

However, Facebook determined a bug caused the internal feature to launch publicly. While it may seem the social network is protecting itself after receiving backlash, the nature of the prompt suggests it was never intended for release.

After a user selected “Yes” to “Does this post contain hate speech?” they were shown three buttons labeled “Test P 1,” “Test P 2,” and “Test P 3.” It’s not clear how many users were affected, but for those who were, the internal feature showed up in every timeline post, including advertisements.

A Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo the company was conducting an “internal test” to “understand different types of speech, including speech we thought would not be hate.”

Facebook’s vice president of product management, Guy Rosen, said the problem was solved within 20 minutes. He tweeted one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s posts as an example.  

For years, Facebook has been trying to improve the ways it polices its site for hate speech. It most recently published the full guidelines its moderators use to determine what content is and isn’t allowed.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.