Facebook Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Terrorism

Facebook says using AI to fight terrorism on its platform

One blog post from Thursday illustrated how Facebook's artificial intelligence would teach itself to identify key phrases that were previously flagged for being used to bolster a known terrorist group. They also review and scrutinize reports of potential terrorists' posts immediately.

"In the wake of recent terror attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online".

Here is how Facebook is the most advanced technology to stop uploading and promotion of the terrorist content on its platforms.

The company now employs more than 150 people who are "exclusively or primarily focused on countering terrorism as their core responsibility".

"We're now experimenting with analyzing text that we've already 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".

Companies have sharply boosted the volume of content they have removed in the last two years, but these efforts haven't proven effective enough to tamp down a groundswell of criticism from governments and advertisers. The company made it clear that it is serious in dealing with the issue, and terrorists should not have a voice on social media. Facebook declined to say what types of customer data will be shared between its apps, but said that cross-platform systems being developed for counterterrorism purposes are separate from its commercial data sharing.

"AI allows us to remove the black-and-white cases very, very quickly", said Brian Fishman, the lead policy manager for counterterrorism at Facebook.

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Facebook has been grappling with challenging questions about its scale and influence, as almost 2 billion people use the social network every month.

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

Facebook also employs 150 counter-terrorism experts, along with its Community Operations team, to add human expertise to its strategy. When material is identified and removed, algorithms "fan out to try to identify related material that may also support terrorism". "We want to answer those questions head on", wrote Facebook on Thursday.

Back in December, Facebook teamed up with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to create a database for terrorist propaganda and recruitment.

"Because of the way end-to-end encryption works, we can't read the contents of individual encrypted messages - but we do provide the information we can in response to valid law enforcement requests, consistent with applicable law and our policies", reads the post.

Facebook's new technology includes "image matching", which will be able to detect when someone uploads a previously flagged "propaganda video" or image, and "language understanding", which will analyze written support and praise of terrorist organizations in an effort to further understand their communication. "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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