Facebook Removed 2.5 MILLION Pieces of 'Hate Speech' in Just Three Months

16 May, 2018, 11:26 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Entrance to Facebook's Menlo Park office

Facebook took down approximately 3.5 million pieces of violent content in Q1 2018, 86 percent of which was automatically detected by the social network's technology.

The report highlights six key areas: fake accounts, spam, adult nudity and sexual activity, graphic violence, terrorist propaganda and hate speech.

837 million pieces of spam were removed in Q1 2018, all of which were found and flagged by Facebook's systems before anyone even reported it.

All told, Facebook took action on almost 1.6 billion pieces of content during the six months ending in March, a tiny fraction of all the activity on its social network, according to the company.

The report, released Tuesday, revealed how much content has been removed for violating standards.

The company said government requests for account data rose globally by about 4% during the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017.

The company only recently developed the metrics as a way to measure its progress, and would probably change them over time, said Guy Rosen, its vice president of product management. Most often they contain spam.

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"In other words, of every 10,000 content views, an estimate of 22 to 27 contained graphic violence", the report said. It's an interesting look into the thought process that goes on behind the scenes, but also highlights just how much guesswork actually goes into this kind of work.

The company did not explain the jump in such posts, but Alex Schultz, its vice president of data analytics, said releasing the data is a part of an attempt to work with the community to improve Facebook. It attributed the increase to "improvements in our ability to find violating content using photo-detection technology, which detects both old content and newly posted content".

Facebook's new report, which it plans to update twice a year, comes a month after the company published its internal rules for how reviewers decide what content should be removed.

Hate speech: In Q1, the company took action on 2.5 million pieces of such content, up about 56% from 1.6 million during Q4. The content audited included graphic violence, hate speech, adult nudity and sexual activity, spam, terrorist propaganda (IS, al-Qaeda and affiliates) and fake accounts.

But that's not to say the relatively low number is due to an defect from Facebook.

Facebook's vice president of product management, Guy Rosen, said in a blog post Tuesday about the newly-released report that nearly all of the 837 million spam posts Facebook took down in the first quarter of 2018 were found by Facebook before anyone had reported them. "It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology to make Facebook safer for everyone". Facebook noted that while its artificial intelligence technology found and flagged many standard violations, more progress needed to be done.

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