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Facebook now using artificial intelligence to combat spread of terrorism

Facebook announced in a blog post Thursday, June 15, that the company has begun to use artificial intelligence to fight the spread of terrorism.

It comes as the company has faced criticism over how social media platforms like Facebook have enabled the spread of terrorist propaganda.

The company is using AI to identify content about the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates by matching posted media to known terrorist photos or videos, and posted text that’s identified as “praising or supporting” terrorist organizations. Facebook plans to use these messages to develop “text-based signals,” adding them to an algorithm that will eventually be able to detect similar posts.

Facebook will also use algorithms to “fan out” in an attempt to find clusters of terrorist activity on the network, searching for signals like whether an account is friends with a large number of other accounts that have been disabled for terrorism, or if an account shares the same characteristics as a disabled account.

The company says it is now “much faster” at detecting fake accounts created by repeat offenders and is using this same approach in the fight against terror. However, as terrorists’ methods evolve, Facebook will need to do the same.

Facebook has also begun the process of taking action against terrorist content on the company’s other platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram.

However, the company does still use a human touch to discover violating content and to provide context of a situation. Facebook detailed the process to Grasswire in this story from April 17:

Unfiltered content: free speech and violent content on social media

Facebook caveats all of this by saying that there isn’t any “easy technical fix” for this issue.

“It is an enormous challenge to keep people safe on a platform used by nearly two billion [people] every month, posting and commenting on more than 80 languages in every corner of the globe.”

Facebook director of global policy management Monika Bickert and counterterrorism policy manager Brian Fishman

The company has also partnered with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to create a shared database of “hashes” – digital fingerprints for photos and videos – for content produced by or in support of terrorist organizations.

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