A recent study prepared by the feminist group Ultraviolet and the ISD (Institute for Strategic Dialogue) in collaboration with Harvard University, has established a classification of the social networks that most promote discrimination based on sex and race.
Some social networks incorporate measures to minimize discrimination and harassment, but there is still a long way to go
From this classification, Instagram and Facebook do not fare well and, surprisingly, Twitter obtains a more favorable position (although it has a lot of room for improvement) thanks to having implemented various measures to fight against the dissemination of content that promotes hatred and misinformation .
The social networks and platforms that have been the object of this study have been rated by virtue of different parameters analyzed and their respective ratings (with an A as the best grade and F as the worst grade) according to this study are:
The conclusions of the study for the analyzed social networks are as follows:
-Facebook (D-): It fails to prosecute discriminatory conduct based on sexual condition or race, in addition to failing to tackle misinformation, harassment, or hate speech. Reported posts take too long to be removed and recipients of harassment or offensive posts are forced to report each user and posted message individually. Regarding health-related misinformation (pregnancy, abortion, eating disorders …) it is especially worrying due to its effects on the health of the people who access said content.
-Instagram (F): Given that it shares the same usage policies with Facebook, it shares most of its faults, adding in the case of Instagram the highest incidence of effects derived from the presence of discrimination from algorithms and filters that discriminate based on sexist and physical issues.
-TikTok (D +): The total disregard for racial discrimination and the spread of the so-called “revenge porn” is critical, the explicit content that ex-partners spread as revenge without the consent of the other party. A detailed analysis would have shown that, in addition, preferential treatment is occasionally granted to discriminatory content based on race and sexual condition. Disinformation on health-related issues is, according to the report, “out of control” and also the algorithm of this social network would show a bias in favor of conservative ideology content.
-Twitter (C): It is recognized that it has a strict policy on hate speech but has yet to improve on areas such as cyberbullying and the publication of ‘revenge porn’. The strict policy to erase disinformation related to COVID-19 is positively valued, but it is criticized that it is not extended to other health-related content such as eating disorders and pregnancy.
The study praises the agreements that Twitter is reaching with news agencies such as the Associated Press or Reuters to combat misinformation as well as the warning that suggests the user read an article before retweeting it after having viewed only the headline.