Facebook's now using artificial intelligence to remove terror content

 
Lynsey Barber
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Facebook Exhibits Technologies At Innovation Hub
AI tools can help but humans must still be invovled, Facebook says (Source: Getty)

Facebook has revealed more about how it is now using artificial intelligence to remove terror related content that appears on its platforms.

The tech giant has come under pressure from the UK government on the matter, with Prime Minister Theresa May going as far as accusing Facebook and others of providing a "safe space" for terrorists.

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The social network said in an update on its efforts today that it was "hopeful AI will become a more important tool in the arsenal of protection and safety on the internet and on Facebook" and demonstrated the success of its early efforts.

It said that 99 per cent of content related to ISIS and Al Qaeda that's removed is identified using AI before it is flagged by humans. However, it noted that AI could not be a silver bullet and human efforts were still required.

"The use of AI against terrorism is increasingly bearing fruit, but ultimately it must be reinforced with manual review from trained experts," it said.

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Detailing more on how the AI can - and can't work - it said: "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, in the real-world and online. ISIS and Al Qaeda meet this definition most directly, so we prioritise our tools to counter these organizations 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 organizations too.

Home secretary Amber Rudd has held talks with executives from top tech companies in Silicon Valley about tackling online extremism. And executives have faced a grilling from MPs in the UK.

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