Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle 'Terrorist Content'

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle 'Terrorist Content'

With attacks on Western targets increasing pressure on Facebook, the giant social network says it's making a new push to crack down on terrorist activity by using sophisticated algorithms to mine words, images and videos to root out and remove extremists' propaganda and messages.

In a joint blog post, the social network's global policy management director Monika Bickert and counterterrorism policy manager Brian Fishman said Facebook was committed to tackling the issue "head-on".

Facebook outlined some of the ways it is trying to stamp out terrorist content on its platform Thursday, following calls from UK Prime Minister Theresa May to crack down on online terrorist havens.

"When we identify pages, groups, posts or profiles as supporting terrorism, we also use algorithms to "fan out" to try to identify related material", Bickert and Fishman explained. In rare cases, when they uncover evidence of imminent harm, they promptly inform authorities about it. Recent attacks have made people question what we should be doing to stand up against radicalisation but our commitment is long standing. Facebook is also looking to extend these methods to the other apps it owns, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

"We're now experimenting with analysing text that we've already removed for praising or supporting terrorist organisations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda so we can develop text-based signals that such content may be terrorist propaganda".

Companies have sharply boosted the volume of content they have removed in the last two years, but these efforts haven't proven effective enough to tamp down a groundswell of criticism from governments and advertisers.

Artificial intelligence is being deployed by Facebook in an effort to stop terrorists from using its website.

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Even though the technology is under development and is now not in its established state, Brian Fishman, Facebook's lead policy manager for counterterrorism, said the company had a team of 150 specialists working in 30 languages doing such reviews.

"We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice".

With billions of users speaking some 80 languages, the post noted, the challenge is enormous.

"We're also learning over time, and sometimes we get it wrong", Elliot Schrage, Facebook's VP for public policy and communications, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook also mentioned its partnerships with government and industry, noting that it works with NGOs and others to stem the tide of terrorist propaganda. Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft said they would begin sharing unique digital fingerprints of flagged images and video, to keep them from resurfacing on different online platforms. "But we do provide the information we can in response to valid law enforcement requests, consistent with applicable law and our policies", the authors wrote. Facebook also announced that it created a brand new email address - hardquestions@fb.com - where you can send feedback or suggestions for problems it should address.

Those techniques include image-matching for terrorist photos and videos, and detecting "clusters", where terrorist content is posted across related accounts.

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