Facebook deploys AI to fight terrorism on its network

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has outlined how it plans to use artificial intelligence to remove terrorist content from its social network. The company's announcement comes as it faces growing pressure from government leaders to identify and prevent the spread of content from terrorist groups on its massive social network.

Facebook is fighting terrorists online, using a combination or AI and human experts to flag content for removal and protect users. "When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny", reads the post. In addition, it says that in the rare cases when it uncovers evidence of imminent harm, it promptly informs authorities.

The world's largest social media network, with 1.9 billion users, Facebook has not always been so open about its operations, and its statement was met with skepticism by some who have criticized US technology companies for moving slowly.

"The social media giant is "experimenting with analyzing text" that it has already been removed for praising or supporting terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda so we can develop text-based signals that such content may be terrorist propaganda".

After a string of terror attacks over the past couple years, some social media companies are increasing their counterterrorism efforts.

"We don't want terrorists to have a place anywhere in the family of Facebook apps".

"Crucially, our campaign will also include exploring creating a legal liability for tech companies if they fail to take the necessary action to remove unacceptable content", May said at a joint news conference.

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Facebook said its AI efforts in counterterrorism are still recent.

Artificial intelligence can't do the job alone, so Facebook says it has amassed a team of 150, including counterterrorism experts, who are dedicated to tracking and taking down propaganda and other materials.

"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".

This team of specialists has "significantly grown" over the past year, according to a Facebook blog post Thursday detailing its efforts to crack down on terrorists and their posts.

Along with Google's (GOOGL) YouTube, Twitter (TWTR) and Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook has joined a database that assigns digital fingerprints to militant content so partners can bar it from their own site. "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. The social network also wants to improve its ability to detect duplicate accounts set up by a single user and plans to extend these tools to other Facebook properties like the worldwide chat app WhatsApp and Instagram.

The company told the BBC it was using artificial intelligence to spot images, videos and text related to terrorism as well as clusters of fake accounts. "We want Facebook to be a hostile environment for terrorists". "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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