Hate Crimes in Trump Era Aided by Facebook
In President Donald Trump’s first year in office, hate crimes increased by 17 percent, according to data released by the FBI. There were 7,175 incidents reported in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016.
The most common incidents, at 60 percent, were said to be motivated by race bias, followed by religion at nearly 21 percent and sexual orientation at roughly 16 percent.
Hate crimes reported to police in America’s 10 largest cities rose 12.5 percent in 2017.
The increase was the fourth consecutive annual rise in a row and the highest total in over a decade, according to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
In contrast to the increase in hate crime in the 10 largest cities last year, crime, in general, dropped slightly across the nation in the first half of 2017, with preliminary FBI figures showing a 0.8 percent decrease in violent crime and a 2.9 percent decrease in property crime.
Critics of Trump’s administration, such as the NAACP, said in a statement that the rise in hate crimes is directly correlated to Trump’s tutelage.
“The NAACP believes there is a direct relationship between the rise in hate crimes exemplified by the continual #LivingWhileBlack incidents and other reported crimes and President Donald J. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric and racist policies.”
The report shows that racially motivated crimes comprise nearly 60 percent of overall crimes, and African-Americans remain the most targeted group.
Overall, “Anti-Black, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-Latino were the most common type of hate crimes,” the study’s authors said.
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said, “From campaign to election, this president has spewed the language of division and hate and it has manifested in not only racist policies but in racists acts against people of color and other groups.”
The NAACP continued that in an op-ed appearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, researchers mentioned the impact of fraudulent Russian Facebook Ads designed to create “racial discord” and suppress Black votes during the 2016 presidential election as a possible factor in the rise in hate crimes.
“They argue that “further research is needed, but there appears to be a correlation between the rise in targeted racially divisive social media ads and a near-contemporaneous rise in hate crime.”
This week Facebook updated its progress on combatting hate speech, depictions of graphic violence, terrorist propaganda and other violations of its community standards.
Facebook said it has removed more than 15.4 million pieces of violent and graphic content in the third quarter, including removing it, putting a warning screen over it, disabling the offending account and/or contacting law enforcement.
In a post labeled, “A Blueprint for Content Governance and Enforcement,” CEO Mark Zuckerburg wrote about how his company plans to tackle “fake news” and hate speech.
“The past two years have shown that without sufficient safeguards, people will misuse these tools to interfere in elections, spread misinformation, and incite violence,” he wrote.
“One of the most painful lessons I’ve learned is that when you connect two billion people, you will see all the beauty and ugliness of humanity.”
Zuckerburg continued that the single most important improvement in enforcing policies is using artificial intelligence.
The technology will proactively report potentially problematic content to their team of reviewers, and in some cases to take action on the content automatically as well.
“Over the course of our three-year roadmap through the end of 2019, we expect to have trained our systems to proactively detect the vast majority of problematic content. And while we will never be perfect, we expect to continue improving and we will report on our progress in our transparency and enforcement reports.”