Greta Thunberg Calls on Facebook to Curb Hate Speech

Published October 27th, 2019 - 10:37 GMT
Greta Thunberg (Twitter)
Greta Thunberg (Twitter)
'I am, like many others, questioning whether I should keep using Facebook or not,' Thunberg wrote Wednesday.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is setting her sights on Facebook, urging the social media giant to take responsibility and curb the hate speech, conspiracy theories and lack of fact-checking that she says is rampant on the platform.   

In a Facebook post shared with her 2.6million followers, Thunberg, 16, wrote Wednesday that she was debating quitting the social media platform because she finds its 'lack of taking responsibility very disturbing.' 

'I am, like many others, questioning whether I should keep using Facebook or not,' Thunberg wrote Wednesday. 'Allowing hate speech, the lack of fact checking and of course the issues of interfering with democracy...are among many, many other things that are very upsetting.

'The constant lies and conspiracy theories about me and countless of others of course result in hate, death threats and ultimately violence,' Thunberg continued. 'This could easily be stopped if Facebook wanted to. I find the lack of taking responsibility very disturbing.'

She concluded the post by noting: 'But I'm sure that if they are challenged and if enough of us demand change - then change will come.'

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Thunberg's post also included a video of a news report of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the House Financial Services Committee earlier that day. Zuckerberg was asked about his new cryptocurrency project, Libra, but was also grilled about his company's refusal to police hate speech and ban fake advertising statements.  

Thunberg has said that as the spotlight on her and her climate activism grows, both she and her family have been harassed and threatened on social media. 

'The one who suffers is my sister,' Thunberg told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, according to Insider. 'She is 13 years old and has to endure systematic bullying, hatred, and harassment.' 

Thunberg went on to say that 'The people who write threats and hate to me do it to the whole family, even to her. The difference between me and the people who are left at home is that I am always traveling, inaccessible.' 

The day after urging her followers to demand that Facebook changes its policy about refusing to police advertising lies, hatred and conspiracy theories spread using the platform, Thunberg issued an apology to celebrity figures who had been mislead by people impersonating her.   

'It has come to my attention that a few people have been trying to impersonate me or falsely claim that they "represent" me in order to communicate with political leaders, famous actors, singers and musicians,' Thunberg wrote on Facebook and Twitter. 

'I apologize to anyone who’s been contacted - and maybe even misled by this kind of behavior. I hope that those who want to sincerely reach out to me will do so using the recognized channels. 

'The good news in all of this is that this just means we're having impact. Activism works. And see you in the streets!' she wrote. 

Thunberg was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Friday, taking part in climate protests, the same day as London's Natural History Museum said that it had named a minute species of beetle after her. 

The 'Nelloptodes gretae' is less than 1 millimeter long and lacks eyes and wings. It was found in part of a 1960s collection of samples of soil and leaf litter in Nairobi, Kenya, and donated to the Natural History Museum in 1978, according to the AP.  

The beetle was named for Thunberg by Michael Darby, a scientific associate at the museum, who found the insect in its store of millions of animal specimens. Darby said he wanted to acknowledge Thunberg’s 'outstanding contribution' to raising awareness of environmental issues. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.    

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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