Meta, formerly Facebook, is the first to publish estimates of bullying and harassment on its platforms

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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, first announced the prevalence of bullying and harassment on its platform on Tuesday, saying that such content was seen between 14 and 15 times per 10,000 views on the site in the third quarter.

The company, which recently changed its name to Meta, also said in its quarterly content moderation report that bullying and harassment content was seen between 5 and 6 times per 10,000 content views on Instagram.

The social media giant, long under the microscope for its handling of abuses in its services, was in the spotlight after a former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents that sparked investigations and discussions about the impact of Instagram teen mental health and whether Meta’s platforms are fueling the divisions.

Haugen said the documents show the company has made gains on user safety. Meta denied this characterization, saying the documents were used to paint the “wrong picture”.

The documents, first published by the Wall Street Journal, have sparked calls for more transparency on meta and raised the question of whether metrics like prevalence give a complete picture of how the company deals with abuse.

Meta said its bullying and harassment numbers only recorded cases where the company didn’t need additional information, such as a report from a user, to determine if the content was violating its rules.

They said that of the 9.2 million pieces of content the company removed from Meta for violating its bullying and harassment rules, 59.4 percent was found proactive.

“Bullying and harassment are a unique challenge and one of the most complex problems because the context is critical,” said the company’s global security chief Antigone Davis and product management director Amit Bhattacharyya in a blog post.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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