A learning disability charity is calling on Facebook to change its reporting process after failing to protect disabled people from hate and discrimination online.
Coventry Youth Activists, a group of young activists fighting for disabled people's right to have a good life, launched the "Action Against Facebook" campaign to challenge the way users are able to report discrimination targeted at those that have additional needs and disabilities.
It followed months of research into the lived experiences of people and families who have faced discrimination and abuse on Facebook that has not been taken down despite being reported.
They said that Nick Clegg, vice president of global communications at Facebook, claims that over 90% of hate speech is identified and removed by artificial intelligence (AI) before it is reported, yet Facebook’s process leaves reported comments of abuse targeted at disabled people untouched.
Accessible and transparent reporting process needed on Facebook
The three areas of change recommended by the group are to provide accessible and transparent detail on Facebook’s reporting process, allow appeals when reports are deemed to not violate community standards, and ensure there are people with lived experience of a disability on Facebook’s Oversight Board.
Coventry Youth Activist, Joey Mander, said: “I’ve had comments saying people like me would be ‘better off dead’ due to not having a contribution to life – this hurts. All of these comments were reported and none were taken down, none were classed as ‘breaking community guidelines’.
“These things seem shocking to most but sadly these comments have become normal to us. This needs to change. Being both young and disabled has meant that we at CYA are able to give a voice to those who often have none.”
The group points to examples of abuse such as the hate speech faced by celebrities such as Katie Price and her disabled son Harvey.
Last month, the family of Christian Kilduff, a young boy with cerebral palsy, spoke out on This Morning about the online trolling he received after he appeared with his sister Jade on Britain's Got Talent.