Friday 20 April 2018

Facebook 'blocking 99pc of terrorist content' with AI

Last summer, Facebook announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. Stock image
Last summer, Facebook announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. Stock image
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook says that it removing 99pc of content from terrorist groups such as Isil and Al Qaeda before it reaches Facebook users.

"In some cases, this is before it goes live on the site," said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management. "We do this primarily through the use of automated systems like photo and video matching and text-based machine learning. Once we are aware of a piece of terror content, we remove 83pc of subsequently uploaded copies within one hour of upload."

She said that artificial intelligence is being deployed to help battle extremism on the service.

"Deploying AI for counterterrorism is not as simple as flipping a switch. Depending on the technique, you need to carefully curate databases or have human beings code data to train a machine. A system designed to find content from one terrorist group may not work for another because of language and stylistic differences in their propaganda. Because of these limitations, we focus our most innovative techniques on the terrorist groups that pose the biggest threat globally. Isis and Al Qaeda meet this definition most directly, so we prioritise our tools to counter these organisations and their affiliates.

"We hope over time that we may be able to responsibly and effectively expand the use of automated systems to detect content from regional terrorist organisations too."

Last summer, Facebook announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.

Bickert said that GIFCT's work encompasses the development and expansion of a shared industry database of 'hashes' that launched at the EU Internet Forum in December 2016.

"We share and accept these hashes, which are unique digital fingerprints of terrorist media, from other companies to help detect attempted uploads of potential terrorist propaganda," she said. "Through GIFCT, we also engage with governments around the world and are preparing to jointly commission research on how governments, tech companies and civil society can fight online radicalisation."

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