A racist social media post used a watermelon to depict VP-elect Kamala Harris
Facebook is facing scrutiny from civil rights groups and media think tanks who say that the social media giant is not doing enough to combat hate speech against Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
WXYZ Detroit reports that one such post occurred when a now fired employee of the Oakland County Sheriff’s office in Michigan used a watermelon carving to depict Harris on a Halloween Facebook post.
Watermelons have been commonly used as a racist trope and stereotype against African Americans since at least the Civil War era.
In another incident, a police officer in Byhalia, Mississippi was fired for making a Facebook post stating: “She will be an inspiration to young girls by showing if your [sic] sleep with the right powerfully connected men then you too can play second fiddle to a man with dementia.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has condemned both social media posts.
BBC News recently notified Facebook of three hate groups posting racist and misogynistic content about Harris. Such content included claims that Harris is not a U.S. citizen, similar to the “birther” arguments made about former President Barack Obama, as well as memes ridiculing Harris’ name. These Facebook groups had between 1,200 and 4,000 members.
While Facebook quickly deleted the groups, some say that the company has not taken enough action against hate speech.
According to Rishad Robinson from the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, Facebook’s algorithms “incentivize people to spread hate.”
Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said, “Facebook’s removal of this content only after it’s been flagged to them by the media confirms that the rules and guidelines they establish are hollow because they put little to no effort into detection and enforcement.”
“We are talking about the lowest of low-hanging fruit from a detection perspective. And yet, these escaped Facebook’s notice until flagged by a third party,” Carusone added.
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