Facebook and Twitter are facing the wrath of the US government after being found guilty of “trolling” in the country.
The US Commerce Department on Friday accused Facebook of encouraging “extremist and hateful content” by allowing its users to “liked” videos posted by people who it said “violated the law” on terrorism, money laundering, and human trafficking.
The US Justice Department, which oversees the Justice Department’s criminal division, said the social network and other platforms that rely on it for ad revenue “may have encouraged their users to engage in conduct that is unlawful.”
“We believe that these platforms have a direct and positive impact on the safety and well-being of Americans and other nations,” Assistant Attorney General Paul C. Gershman said in a statement.
“We believe they have a duty to remove hate speech from their platforms, and that they are obligated to do so.”
Facebook is owned by Facebook Inc., which has been accused of encouraging its users and other social media platforms to engage with terrorist groups such as Islamic State.
Facebook said on Thursday it would be “taking steps to ensure our community remains safe and secure,” including adding more “adversarial tools and resources” to police content.
Twitter was found to be engaging in “trolls,” which is a legal term used to describe “the sharing of content, ideas, images, and other content that is intended to harm or threaten others.”
Gershmann’s department accused the social media giants of violating federal law and the Fair Trade Act, which bars foreign firms from engaging in trade in goods and services with the US.
“While the conduct that Facebook and other companies engage in does not constitute hate speech, it does provide an incentive to engage and share extremist, hateful content,” Gersheman said.
“If these platforms were to engage again in this type of conduct, we will take action to ensure that it is not allowed again.”
The companies have repeatedly denied the allegations and said they were merely trying to fight terrorism.
Facebook has already faced criticism for allowing fake news to spread on its platform, and Twitter is facing criticism for its treatment of users.
Twitter has faced numerous legal and regulatory battles over how it handles the accounts of its users.