Facebook says using AI to fight terrorism on its platform

Facebook says using AI to fight terrorism on its platform

A blog post authored by Monika Bickert, Director of Global Policy Management, and Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Policy Manager, details how Facebook uses artificial intelligence to keep terrorist content off Facebook, something the social media giant has not talked about publicly before.

"But even when you're skeptical of our choices, we hope these posts give a better sense of how we approach them". And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities.

"We're constantly identifying new ways that terrorist actors try to circumvent our systems - and we update our tactics accordingly", Bickert and Fishman said. He's now partnered with the New York-based Counter Extremism Project to create technology that, he says, could help these platforms do the same for certain extremist content.

That analysis goes into an algorithm learning how to detect similar posts.

The Facebook executives said they remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism once they become aware of them. "Already, the majority of accounts we remove for terrorism we find ourselves", they continued.

In a separate post Thursday morning, Facebook said it will be seeking public feedback and sharing its own thinking on thorny issues, including the definition of fake news, the removal of controversial content, and what to do with a person's online identity when they die.

Facebook is also working to bring these technologies to its other platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram. So no white supremacist terror groups or non-Islamic groups - although "we expect to expand to other terrorist organizations in due course", the post says. "Given the limited data some of our apps collect as part of their service, the ability to share data across the whole family is indispensable to our efforts to keep all our platforms safe", the company said.

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"Artificial intelligence can help provide a better approach", he wrote.

The technology is the same as that used to block child pornography on the website but, as AI and algorithms are not yet as good as people at understanding the nuances of content and language, the website still needs human reviewers as well.

"A photo of an armed man waving an ISIS flag might be propaganda or recruiting material, but could be an image in a news story".

Terrorism remains a problem that governments and companies everywhere are attempting to solve, but Facebook plans to launch several initiatives to contribute to these efforts.

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.

Fishman, who is a former professor who published a book on ISIS and al Qaeda, joined Facebook just over a year ago and his team works with other parts of Facebook to build tools to detect terrorist activity and prevent the spread of propaganda. The stock, however, is up over 30% so far this year.

MPs and anti-terrorism experts have attacked American technology companies for relying on users to flag offensive and unsafe content, rather than seeking it out.

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