Facebook To Fight Terrorism With Artificial Intelligence, Policy Experts

Facebook says using AI to fight terrorism on its platform

As terrorist groups like ISIS continue to leverage social media as a recruiting tool, Facebook is using artificial intelligence to weed out terrorist activity on its platform, according to a report from USA Today.

The company announced that plus a number of other steps it says it's taking as it faces growing pressure from government leaders to identify and prevent the spread of content from terrorist groups on its massive social network.

"We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them", Monika Bickert, Facebook's director of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, Facebook's counterterrorism policy manager, wrote in the joint blog post. Facebook is the priority right now for its extensive user base, but policies and techniques that work there usually make their way into Instagram and WhatsApp. In rare cases, when they uncover evidence of imminent harm, they promptly inform authorities about it.

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. The company now has a 150-person team dedicated exclusively to counterterrorism efforts, which includes academics, former law enforcement officials and engineers, along with a secondary team that can respond to major police requests. Another would apply machine learning algorithms to look for patterns in the language of terrorist propaganda so it could be identified and removed more quickly.

The company has deployed a system that stores a digital footprint of any video or photograph that has already been removed for promoting terrorism and automatically flags this to human reviewers if someone else tries to repost it.

Asked why Facebook was opening up now about policies that it had long declined to discuss, Bickert said recent attacks were naturally starting conversations among people about what they could do to stand up to militancy.

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The company says it is also using algorithms to detect "clusters" of accounts or images relating to support for terrorism.

Facebook is using AI to fight terrorism on its site.

Facebook and other platforms have been criticized by politicians for not doing enough to crack down on extremist content.

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

Facebook said it has also gotten better at detecting fake accounts created by "repeat offenders" previously booted from the social network for extremist content. "We want Facebook to be a hostile environment for terrorists".

In a blog post published Thursday, Facebook described how an artificial-intelligence system would, over time, teach itself to identify key phrases that were previously flagged for being used to bolster a known terrorist group. "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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