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Twitter and Facebook are giant social media companies. They are incredibly popular around the world with billions of people using them every day. In recent years, they have had problems with hate speech. In the past, they have not wanted to do anything to stop the hate speech, they didn’t want to limit free speech on their platforms. This has caused many people to be angry with them as hate speech has become more common.

Twitter and Facebook have now started to take action against hate speech on their websites. It started in May when Twitter hid a tweet from US President Trump. The tweet was hidden for “glorifying violence”. In the tweet, he wrote about using violence against protesters in the US. He used the racist phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a phrase which has a long history of being used when talking about black protesters. This started lots of arguments between Trump and Twitter. In the beginning, Facebook did not do anything, they even left the same message free to read on their website.  Many people were angry with Facebook because they did nothing. Now, Facebook has started to do similar things. They recently removed a Trump ad because it used a Nazi hate symbol.

The actions haven’t only been against President Trump. Many accounts are now being banned for hateful or violent posts. Many people think some accounts had not been banned before because they were famous. A British person with over 1 million followers on Twitter was well known for her hateful messages. People have been calling for action against her for years. Twitter has now banned her along with other accounts which they say spread hate.

Difficult Words

Platform (n): A way to speak your ideas and opinions to others, usually a website.

Glorify (v): To make something seem great or good.

Racist (n/adj): To not like someone because of their race.

Looting (n/v): To steal private property, especially during war.

Nazi (n): A person part of a group which started in Germany, who doesn’t like certain people because of their race or religion.

Account (n): A personal space for your information.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

 1. Platform  A. Make look great.
 2. Glorify  B. Steal
 3. Racists  C. Personal space.
 4. Looting  D.Communication area.
 5. Account  E. Discriminate

True or False?

1. Not many people use social media every day. T / F

2. Hate speech is growing more common on social media. T / F

3. Twitter and Facebook are taking action against hate speech. T / F

4. President Trump has not tweeted about harming protesters. T / F

5. Facebook reacted right away to President Trump’s racist tweets. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. popular / incredibly / around / They / world / the / are

2. to / people / has / This / many / caused / be / angry

3. to / Twitte rand Facebook / have / take / started / action / now

4. arguments / lots / of / This / started

5. a / They / removed / recently / ad / Trump

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Incredibly Actions Hidden
Similar Caused Famous

Twitter and Facebook are giant social media companies. They are (1)_____________ popular around the world with billions of people using them every day. In recent years, they have had problems with hate speech. In the past, they have not wanted to do anything to stop the hate speech, they didn’t want to limit free speech on their platforms. This has (2)__________ many people to be angry with them as hate speech has become more common.

Twitter and Facebook have now started to take action against hate speech on their websites. It started in May when Twitter hid a tweet from US President Trump. The tweet was (3)__________ for “glorifying violence”. In the tweet, he wrote about using violence against protesters in the US. He used the racist phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a phrase which has a long history of being used when talking about black protesters. This started lots of arguments between Trump and Twitter. In the beginning, Facebook did not do anything, they even left the same message free to read on their website.  Many people were angry with Facebook because they did nothing. Now, Facebook has started to do (4)___________ things. They recently removed a Trump ad because it used a Nazi hate symbol.

The (5)___________ haven’t only been against President Trump. Many accounts are now being banned for hateful or violent posts. Many people think some accounts had not been banned before because they were (6)____________. A British person with over 1 million followers on Twitter was well known for her hateful messages. People have been calling for action against her for years. Twitter has now banned her along with other accounts which they say spread hate.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you use Twitter or Facebook?
5. Is it a website’s responsibility to stop hate speech on their own platform?
6. Was it right for Twitter to hide the President’s tweet?
7. Have you ever noticed hate speech online?
8. Do you think the internet should have freedom of speech?
9. Have you ever been blocked from a website?
10. Do politicians in your country often use social media?
11. Do you regularly follow what politicians say online?
12. Should websites be fact-checking posts from famous people?
13. Should presidents receive special treatment for what they post?
14. Does your country have freedom of speech on and offline?
15. Do people fact-check what politicians say in your country?
16. Is fake news a problem in your country?
17. Should racist symbols or messages be allowed on the internet without warning messages?
18. Were Facebook employees right to refuse to work when they didn’t agree with Mark Zuckerberg’s actions?
19. Is it important for you to trust what you read online?
20. Is it important for websites to strictly enforce their terms of service?