Washington: A Washington based civil rights group, Muslim Advocates, filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Facebook Inc and its top executives on Thursday alleging the company's failure to remove anti-Muslim hate speech on their platform.
The lawsuit which is filed in District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington, claims that Facebook routinely failed to remove content that violated its policies, including anti-Muslim groups and pages flagged by rights organizations and experts with names that compared Muslims to "filth" and contained calls to "unite against," "purge" or "wipe out" Islam.
Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube have long been under scrutiny for how they handle hate speech, violent content and other abuses on their platforms.
Nevertheless, these internet platforms have generally been able to avoid lawsuits faulting them for abusive content, under a 1996 federal law that broadly protects them from the liability for content posted by users.
But in this case, the civil rights group claims that Facebook officials breached a local consumer-protection law by falsely promising that the company would remove content that violated its policies.
"They (Facebook) are lying about the safety of their products to avoid regulation by Congress and to assuage the concerns of the public and nonprofit groups," said Mary Bauer, legal director at Muslim Advocates, in an interview as reported by USA TODAY.
Facebook has also come out with an explanation from their side in an emailed statement, which said, "We do not allow hate speech on Facebook and regularly work with experts, non-profits, and stakeholders to help make sure Facebook is a safe place for everyone, recognizing anti-Muslim rhetoric can take different forms. We have invested in AI technologies to take down hate speech, and we proactively detect 97 per cent of what we remove."