Facebook uses AI in fight against terrorism

Artificial intelligence is being deployed by Facebook in an effort to stop terrorists from using its website.

The social media company said in a blog post that it will use AI to find and remove terrorist content before other users see it.

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.

One of the techniques used is image matching – comparing photos and videos uploaded by users with known terrorist images or videos.

Facebook is also working on “text-based signals” from material that has already been removed. These signals will be fed into a machine-learning system and that machine will, over time, be able to detect similar posts.

The move comes after repeated calls from authorities for social media websites such as Facebook to identify and prevent the spread of terrorist propaganda and recruitment on their platforms.

More than 150 people, including counter-terror experts, former prosecutors, ex-law enforcement, analysts and engineers, are employed at Facebook to “exclusively or primarily” focus on “countering terrorism”, the company said.

Facebook’s blog post, by Monika Bickert, director of global policy management, and counter-terrorism policy manager Brian Fishman, said: “In the wake of recent terror attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online.

“We want to answer those questions head on.

“We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice.

“We want to be very clear how seriously we take this – keeping our community safe on Facebook is critical to our mission.”

Seemingly in an effort to address criticism of their apparent slowness to act, the writers said: “We’ve been cautious, in part because we don’t want to suggest there is any easy technical fix.

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

“And there is much more for us to do.”


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