RKN Global on: Tech Companies’ Partnerships with the SPLC

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Partnerships can be essential for any company.  Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon – four of the biggest technology platforms worldwide – are consulting with a nonprofit organization to help police their platforms for “hate groups and hate speech,” according to an investigation by Daily Caller News Foundation.

Facebook works with SPLC to inform its hate speech policies

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been accused by some of labelling conservative organizations as hate groups and having a track record of inaccuracies.

In an interview to the Daily Caller News Foundation, Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja said that the SPLC is on a list of external experts and organizations which Facebook works with to inform its hate speech policies.  She further noted that the tech company reps will generally hold around one to three meetings with the SPLC and similar groups. Budhraja refused to name all the external groups which are working with Facebook, citing privacy concerns, but she did confirm the partnership with the SPLC.

In May, the SPLC accused Facebook of not taking sufficient measures to censor anti-Muslim hate on its platform. Budhraja underlined that the definition of hate group for the company is quite different from that of the SPLC, and that the tech company is consulting with groups across the political spectrum.

Amazon gives the SPLC the most direct authority

The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) found that Amazon – out of the four companies’ partnerships – gives the non-profit organization the most direct authority over its platform.

An Amazon spokeswoman told The DCNF that it removes organizations based on the SPLC’s guidance. According to the online retailer, it gives the SPLC that kind of power because it wants to avoid bias in the decision making process. However, the process is not flawless.  The DCNF found that the Amazon Smile program has banned the Alliance Defending Freedom – a Christian legal group that successfully represented a Christian baker at the Supreme Court – but it has allowed anti-Semitic groups.

Twitter has listed the SPLC as a safety partner that is working with it to fight harassment and hateful conduct. Google has been using the SPLC to assist in curbing hate speech on YouTube as part of its “Trusted Flagger” program.


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