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Facebook Privately Worried About Hate Speech Spawning Violence

The company’s own analysts asked if the social-networking giant was doing enough to ‘limit the harm’

People watch as a construction site burns in Minneapolis on May 27, 2020. Some Facebook analysts worried their platform might be inciting some of the violence that gripped Minneapolis during protests over the police-killing of George Floyd.

People watch as a construction site burns in Minneapolis on May 27, 2020. Some Facebook analysts worried their platform might be inciting some of the violence that gripped Minneapolis during protests over the police-killing of George Floyd.

Photographer: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

When hundreds of advertisers halted spending on Facebook Inc. in July 2020 to protest hate speech on the social media site, top executives took a defensive public stance, saying the company was aggressively fighting racism on its networks.

“When we find hateful posts on Facebook and Instagram, we take a zero tolerance approach and remove them,” Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said at the time.