Facebook uses AI in fight against terrorism

Ken Copeland
June 16, 2017

But how exactly Facebook's anti-terrorism systems operate remains a mystery. We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them.

'When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny. In rare cases, when they uncover evidence of imminent harm, they promptly inform authorities about it.

Bickert and Fishman say they focusing their most cutting edge techniques to combat terrorist content connected to ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates.

Image matching: When someone tries to upload a terrorist photo or video, systems look for whether the image matches a known terrorism photo or video.

Because this relies on machine learning, the idea is for Facebook's technology to get smarter the more it learns about the words, phrases and ways extremists post online.

Similarly, Facebook now analyses text that has already been removed for praising or supporting militant organizations to develop text-based signals for such propaganda.

But artificial intelligence is now being used, for instance, to recognize when a freshly posted image or video matches one known to have been previously removed from the social network - which counts almost two billion users and involves more than 80 languages.

"Crucially, our campaign will also include exploring creating a legal liability for tech companies if they fail to take the necessary action to remove unacceptable content", May said at a joint news conference. The algorithms use signals like whether an account is friends with lot of others who have been disabled for terrorism, or whether it "shares the same attributes as a disabled account". The social network also wants to improve its ability to detect duplicate accounts set up by a single user and plans to extend these tools to other Facebook properties like the global chat app WhatsApp and Instagram.

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After a string of terror attacks over the past couple years, some social media companies are increasing their counterterrorism efforts.

Facebook also uses these tools on its other platforms, like Instagram and WhatsApp, though it stressed that it does not have the ability to read encrypted messages.

Facebook announced earlier this year that it would increase its community operations team by 3,000, increasing the number of people who review flagged posts on the social network, including instances of bullying, hate speech and terrorism. Such technology is already used to block child pornography from Facebook and other services such as YouTube, but Facebook had been reluctant about applying it to other potentially less clear-cut uses.

"A photo of an armed man waving an ISIS flag might be propaganda or recruiting material, but could be an image in a news story".

"Our stance is simple: There's no place on Facebook for terrorism", the company said.

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.

As Facebook continues to face criticism over how it handles terrorist propaganda, the company is detailing its process for countering radicalization and other threats.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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