Facebook opens up about efforts to scrub offensive content

Facebook, though, still wants to do more to combat content that could be against its rules - like those that are considered by its employees or artificial intelligence system to be hate speech, abuse, graphic violence, sexual activity, terrorist propaganda - while also ensuring that it doesn't go too far in its censorship endeavors.

Among the most noteworthy numbers: Facebook said that it took down 583 million fake accounts in the three months spanning Q1 2018, down from 694 million in Q4 2017.

In the area of adult nudity and sexual activity, between 0.07-0.09% of views during the first quarter were of content that violated standards.

The report did not cover the spread of false news directly, which it has previously said it was trying to stamp out by increasing transparency on who buys political ads, strengthening enforcement and making it harder for so-called "clickbait" from showing up in users' feeds.

The number of pieces of content depicting graphic violence that Facebook took action on during the first quarter of this year was up 183% on the previous quarter. The rate at which we can do this is high for some violations, meaning we find and flag most content before users do.

Facebook took action on 1.9 million pieces of content over terrorist propaganda.

As Facebook continues to grapple with spam, hate speech, and other undesirable content, the company is shedding more light on just how much content it is taking down or flagging each day. Facebook removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech in Q1 2018, of which just 38% was flagged by automated systems. "This is especially true where we've been able to build artificial intelligence technology that automatically identifies content that might violate our standards". "This increase is mostly due to improvements in our detection technology", the report notes.

The figure represents between 0.22 and 0.27 percent of the total content viewed by Facebook's more than two billion users from January through March.

"Hate speech content often requires detailed scrutiny by our trained reviewers to understand context and decide whether the material violates standards, so we tend to find and flag less of it, and rely more on user reports, than with some other violation types", the report says. During Q1, Facebook found and flagged 98.5% of fake accounts it ultimately took action against before any user reported them.

The social network says when action is taken on flagged content it does not necessarily mean it has been taken down.

The firm disabled about 583 million fake accounts which were disabled minutes after registering.

It took action on 837 million pieces of spam, though it didn't have view numbers. The company has pledged in recent months to use facial recognition technology - which it also uses to suggest which Facebook friends to tag in photos - to catch fake accounts that might be using another person's photo in their profile pictures.

The company estimates that 3% to 4% of its monthly active users are "fake", up from 2% to 3% in Q3 of 2017, according to filings.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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