Facebook leaning on AI to fight terrorist content

Facebook says using AI to fight terrorism on its platform

In a blog post entitled, "Hard Questions: How We Counter Terrorism", published today (June 15), Facebook claimed it was experimenting with AI to become "better at identifying potential terrorist content", growing its team of security experts, plus "strengthening partnerships with other companies, governments and NGOs in this effort". In most cases, Facebook only removes objectionable material if users first report it.

Bickert and Fishman said Facebook removes "terrorists and posts that support terrorism" whenever the company spots them.

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 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.

AI, Facebook says, is also useful for identifying and removing "terrorist clusters".

The new algorithms have helped the company to "dramatically reduce the time period that terrorist recidivist accounts are on" the social networking site.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Facebook has started deploying its artificial intelligence capabilities to help combat terrorists' use of its service.

In Thursday's statement, Facebook said it has put together a team of more than 150 people "exclusively or primarily" focused on countering terrorism as their core responsibility.

The executives said it is an enormous challenge to keep people safe on the company's platform given the fact that it is used by nearly two billion per month, posting and commenting in more than 80 languages from every corner of the world.

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. But Facebook acknowledged that human expertise is key to its new measures.

Facebook is also partnering with other agencies and organizations. It's also working with other social media companies to create a shared database of these digital signatures - known as hashes - to ensure that people can't simply post the same content to Twitter or YouTube. The hope is that the company would be able to prevent other accounts from uploading a photo or video that was previously removed from the site for its ties to terrorist activity, the post said. "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.

"We want Facebook to be a hostile place for terrorists", Bickart and Fishman wrote. "So when we identify pages, groups, posts or profiles as supporting terrorism, we also use algorithms to "fan out" to try to identify related material that may also support terrorism". "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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