Artificial Intelligence Is Facebook's New Terrorism Watchdog

Artificial Intelligence Is Facebook's New Terrorism Watchdog

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.

Moreover, Facebook noted that partnerships with other technology companies, civil society and governments are crucial for tackling terrorist content because "terrorists can jump from platform to platform".

"Making Facebook a hostile place for terrorists is really important to us", said Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management.

Facebook is also using artificial intelligence more to find terrorist content that users attempt to post to the social network, Bickert and Fishman said. "When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny", reads the post. "And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities".

Here is how Facebook is the most advanced technology to stop uploading and promotion of the terrorist content on its platforms. Most notably, Facebook disclosed that it has more than 150 people "exclusively or primarily focused on countering terrorism as their core responsibility", including people from counterterrorism academia and law enforcement. 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.

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.

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.

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Even though the technology is under development and is now not in its established state, Brian Fishman, Facebook's lead policy manager for counterterrorism, said the company had a team of 150 specialists working in 30 languages doing such reviews.

Facebook said its AI efforts in counterterrorism are still recent.

The executives said it is an enormous challenge to keep people safe on the company's platform given the fact that it is used by nearly two billion per month, posting and commenting in more than 80 languages from every corner of the world.

Along with Google's (GOOGL) YouTube, Twitter (TWTR) and Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook has joined a database that assigns digital fingerprints to militant content so partners can bar it from their own site.

"We want to find terrorist content immediately, before people in our community have seen it", Bickert and Fishman write.

Bickert and Fishman said Facebook's AI has gotten a lot faster at detecting fake accounts created by repeat offenders.

Facebook uses artificial intelligence for image matching that allows the company to see if a photo or video being uploaded matches a known photo or video from groups it has defined as terrorist, such as Islamic State, Al Qaeda and their affiliates, the company said in the blog post.

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