Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Technology | By Ramiro Moody

Facebook deploys AI to fight terrorism on its network

Facebook deploys AI to fight terrorism on its network

That means if someone posts a picture of a known terrorist, Facebook's software can match it to, for example, a propaganda video from ISIS, or other images or videos from extremist content Facebook has already removed. The blog, called "Hard Questions", will address philosophical debates about the role of social media in society, from what should happen to a person's digital history after they die to whether social media is good for democracy.

"We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice", Bickert and Fishman write. We want to answer those questions head on.

MPs and anti-terrorism experts have attacked American technology companies for relying on users to flag offensive and risky content, rather than seeking it out. Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on governments to form worldwide agreements to prevent the spread of extremism online.

Facing growing criticism for its failure to stop the spread of offensive and otherwise inappropriate video, Facebook promised to hire another 3,000 human content monitors, in May.

"Encryption technology has many legitimate uses, from protecting our online banking to keeping our photos safe".

But it also says that already more than half of the accounts that it removes for supporting terrorism are ones that it finds itself.

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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 USA technology companies for moving slowly.

"We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them", the blog post said.

So the company on Thursday offered a "behind-the-scenes" look at its efforts. After the terror attack in London earlier this month, a Facebook official said it's working to make the social network "a hostile environment for terrorists". The company said it would to grow its community operations team by 3,000 over the next year to review flagged content, and that it has hired more than 150 counterterrorism experts who collectively speak almost 30 languages. "What we see is terrorist actors and their supporters start to understand the kind of things that we're doing and they try to change what they do and we have to be reactive to that". But one method the social network uses is image matching. Some government agencies, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.K. Home Office, have called on tech companies to ensure that law enforcement can access encrypted messages. For example, an image of an ISIS flag could be used in propaganda both for and against the terrorist organization-an example Facebook noted remains a challenge.

The announcement of the latest moves come amid pressure on Facebook, plus other messaging platforms, to take more responsibility when it comes to curbing the spread of such content from politicians, with the post underlining its efforts to work with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to do so.

In the post, Bickert and Fishman admit "AI can't catch everything".

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