Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced Tuesday that it had filed a complaint in France against Facebook, citing a rise in anti-media hate speech and misinformation about COVID-19.
The media watchdog noted vast quantities of coronavirus disinformation on Facebook, including vaccine conspiracy theories, in the latest in a slew of fights governments and campaigners are having with Big Tech around the world.
According to RSF, the social media site also included threats and insults directed at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the television show Quotidien, and the regional newspaper L’Union.
“Using expert analyses, personal testimony and statements from former Facebook employees, RSF’s lawsuit demonstrates that … it (Facebook) allows disinformation and hate speech to flourish … contrary to the claims made in its terms of service and through its ads,” its statement said.
On Monday, the suit was filed with the Paris prosecutor’s office.
In a tweet, Facebook France said it had zero tolerance for harmful content and was investing aggressively to fight hate speech and misinformation.
RSF said a court decision against Facebook in France may have a global effect, and it was considering bringing similar lawsuits in other countries.
It went on to say that the suit was brought against Facebook France and Facebook Ireland and that it was based on the French consumer code, which stipulates that firms engaged in misleading commercial practises will face fines of up to 10% of annual turnover.
Facebook had a rough start in 2021, taking into account the new Privacy features of Apple iOS 14 that Facebook was against, also getting sued and fined in the UK and Italy for data collection scandal and improper data usage respectively.
Currently, Facebook is going under investigation for Systemic’ Racial Bias in Hiring, Promotions.