Facebook Calls The Social Dilemma a Conspiracy Documentary, Rejects Claims it Allows Hate Speech to Spread

Facebook has hit back at Jeff Orlowski docu-drama The Social Dilemma, one of the most-watched films on Netflix last month, for its criticism of the social network, rejecting suggestions it allows hate speech and misinformation to spread on the site.

In a rebuttal, Facebook has branded the film a "conspiracy documentary," and said it does not deliberately allow misinformation and hate speech to "fester" on its platform and works to remove it, "despite what the film says."

"We know our systems aren't perfect and there are things that we miss. But we are not idly standing by and allowing misinformation or hate speech to spread on Facebook," the company said.

The Social Dilemma's focus is not limited to Facebook but social media platforms in general, though Mark Zuckerberg's firm arguably receives closer attention than other sites.

The film highlights some of the downsides associated with social media, such as online addiction, the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, bullying, hate speech and depression. It features several former employees of Facebook and other Big Tech firms, who have now turned their backs on their previous employers.

"The film's creators do not include insights from those currently working at the companies or any experts that take a different view to the narrative put forward by the film," Facebook wrote.

"They also don't acknowledge—critically or otherwise—the efforts already taken by companies to address many of the issues they raise. Instead, they rely on commentary from those who haven't been on the inside for many years."

Facebook also rejects responsibility for long-standing accusations that it is helping to drive polarization in society through so-called social media "echo-chambers," which are created by algorithms that can understand the types of content and political opinions users are most likely to agree or engage with online.

"The truth is that polarization and populism have existed long before Facebook and other online platforms were created and we consciously take steps within the product to manage and minimize the spread of this kind of content," Facebook wrote.

"While some posts from more polarizing news sources get a lot of interactions, likes or comments, this content is a tiny percentage of what most people see on Facebook. News from these kinds of Pages doesn't represent the most viewed news stories on Facebook either."

In a recent interview, Mark Zuckerberg denied that Facebook has become a "right-wing echo chamber."

Facebook's response also denies that users are "the product," because it "does not share information that personally identifies you unless you give us permission."

Instead, it allows advertisers to target you based on a wide range of data, including your location, age, Likes, relationship status, education, job and interests, which "are determined based on your activity on Facebook, such as your engagement with certain Pages and ads."

Newsweek has contacted the makers of the Social Dilemma for comment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies via video conference during an Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. The company has hit back at criticism aimed at it by the makers of Netflix film The Social Dilemma. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images