Consumer Reports: How to filter out hate speech, negativity on social media

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Thursday, November 5, 2020
How to filter out hate speech, negativity on social media
How to filter out hate speech, negativity on social media

As the election count drags on, more and more people are constantly checking their social media feeds for updates, but doing so can cause further stress and anxiety.

We can take back some control of our social media feeds by filtering out hate speech and conspiracy theories, negativity and nonsense.

We talked to an expert at Consumer Reports to learn how to do it.

"Social media I used to love because, you know, my friends and family are all over the world," said Britt Parvus, of Philadelphia.

But Parvus is now tuning it out.

"All the hostility and hate and extreme opinions are not helpful," she said. "I want to create this little safe space for people."

There are a variety of tools that will allow you to create a healthier stream of content.

Consumer Reports' Thomas Germaine said on Facebook, you can snooze a user's account by going to the top right corner of a post.

"There's a menu, you can hit snooze, and it'll just take a little break. So you won't see any posts from them on your feed for 30 days," he said.

You can also "hide post" to see fewer posts like it. Other options are to "unfollow" or "block" a user or group.

Instagram offers similar tools to filter. Also, it has the search or explore tab.

"You can click on individual posts in that feed and say "not interested" and that will help you kind of tune the algorithm in a way to show it things that you're interested in," said Germaine.

Also, be vigilant about disinformation or bogus conspiracy theories.

"If you see something on social media that triggers a strong reaction in you, that makes you feel like something crazy has happened, that's exactly the moment when you want to stop and pause and do a little bit of research," he said.

And if you see a bogus claim, hate speech, or other inappropriate content, report it.

"That'll flag it for the companies and it should go through their review process," he said. "It is a way for you to take action and contribute in a way they're things that you think shouldn't be online."

"Filtering the things that you see online can help protect you and it can also protect your friends. Because if you're not seeing it, you're less likely to share it yourself," he said.

If you feel like your YouTube feed is too toxic overall you can get a fresh start.

"There's a way you can go into your account on YouTube, your account on Google and clear your entire watch and search history," he said. "If you're just sick of the sort of things YouTube has been showing you, that's a way to start completely clean."