Facebook admits 4% of accounts were fake

Cesar Mills
May 16, 2018

"For graphic violence, we took down or applied warning labels to about 3.5 million pieces of violent content in Q1 2018 - 86% of which was identified by our technology before it was reported to Facebook", it said. Of the total 2.5 million hate speech posts removed, only 38 percent were pulled by Facebook's tech before users reported it. Compare that to the 95.8 percent of nudity or 99.5 percent of terrorist propaganda that Facebook purged automatically. For every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, the company said, roughly 8 of them were removed for featuring sex or nudity in the first quarter, up from 7 views at the end of a year ago.

Nearly 86 per cent was found by the firm's technology before it was reported by users.

In an unprecedented report responding to calls for transparency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, Facebook detailed its actions against such content in line with its "community standards".

And backing up the company's AI tools are thousands of human reviewers who manually pore over flagged content, trying to determine if it violates Facebook's community standards. This was an increase from estimates of between 0.16 percent and 0.19 percent in fourth quarter of a year ago. During Q1, Facebook found and flagged 85.6% of such content it took action on before users reported it, up from 71.6% in Q4.

Facebook says the number of views of terrorist propaganda from organisations including ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates that happen on the platform is extremely low.

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Responses to rule violations include removing content, adding warnings to content that may be disturbing to some users while not violating Facebook standards; and notifying law enforcement in case of a "specific, imminent and credible threat to human life".

This was up by three quarters from 1.1m during the previous quarter because of improvements in Facebook's ability to find such content using photo detection technology. The rate at which we can do this is high for some violations, meaning we find and flag most content before users do. But the report also indicates Facebook is having trouble detecting hate speech, and only becomes aware of a majority of it when users report the problem. A Bloomberg report last week showed that while Facebook says it's become effective at taking down terrorist content from al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, recruitment posts for other USA -designated terrorist groups are found easily on the site.

For example, the report notes that during the period it covers-the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018-Facebook removed 21 million pieces of content depicting adult nudity or sexual content, 95.8% of it before any user ever reported it. Overall, the social giant estimated that around 3%-4% of active Facebook accounts on the site during Q1 were still fake. Last week, Alex Schultz, the company's vice president of growth, and Rosen walked reporters through exactly how the company measures violations and how it intends to deal with them.

He said technology like artificial intelligence is still years from effectively detecting most bad content because context is so important.

This means often the technology can identify breaches before anyone actually sees it, Facebook says.

Other reports by GizPress

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