Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Facebook Addresses Terrorism, Utilizes AI For Quick Identification

Facebook Reveals Detailed Plan to Counter Terrorism Facebook grows its counterterrorism team
Johanna Francis | 16 June, 2017, 06:17

Facebook Inc. has hired more than 150 counterterrorism experts and is increasingly using artificial intelligence that can understand language and analyze images to try to keep terrorists from using the social network for recruiting and propaganda.

Monika Bickert, Facebook's Director of Global Policy Management, and Brian Fishman, the company's Counterterrorism Policy Manager, acknowledged in a posting on its website that they believe social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice.

Facebook says it will hire more workers with law-enforcement experience and academics who study terrorism to help fight the spread of extremist content on its services.

They also say that when the company receives reports of potential "terrorism posts", it reviews those reports urgently. "And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities".

Bickert and Fishman acknowledge this pressure in their post, writing that "in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online". The company is also attempting to tackle terrorist activity on WhatsApp and Instagram as well, the post said. It's also testing a "language understanding" algorithm that can identify text-based terrorist propaganda.

Artificial intelligence is being deployed by Facebook in an effort to stop terrorists from using its website. Facebook declined to say what types of customer data will be shared between its apps, but said that cross-platform systems being developed for counterterrorism purposes are separate from its commercial data sharing.

"Already, the majority of accounts we remove for terrorism we find ourselves", Facebook said.

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.

"It is an enormous challenge to keep people safe on a platform used by almost two billion every month, posting and commenting in more than 80 languages in every corner of the globe".

Facebook and other platforms have been criticized by politicians for not doing enough to crack down on extremist content. It's leveraging AI, in partnership with human expertise, to achieve that goal.

The post concludes: "We want Facebook to be a hostile place for terrorists".

Back in December, Facebook teamed up with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to create a database for terrorist propaganda and recruitment.

Facebook also uses image matching tools to prevent users from uploading a known terrorist video or picture as well as algorithms to spot clusters of related profiles, pages and groups supporting terrorism. 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. "The challenge for online communities is the same as it is for real world communities - to get better at spotting the early signals before it's too late".

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