Facebook To Combat Terrorism On Its Platform With Artificial Intelligence

There have been almost six hundred terrorist attacks in 2017 alone. Facebook just released an outline of its latest methods to combat this threat by increasingly employing artificial intelligence and other high-tech techniques.

Monika Bickert, Facebook's Director of Global Policy Management, and Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Policy Manager, remarked in their latest blog post, “We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice. We want to be very clear how seriously we take this — keeping our community safe on Facebook is critical to our mission.”

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Facebook plan to use artificial intelligence in particular to eliminate terrorism on their site. AI is being used in image-matching in order to identify whether an uploaded photo or image is the same as one used by terrorists. They are also developing text-based signals that would recognize propaganda or other language often used by terrorists. Facebook is trying to remove terrorist clusters by eliminating Pages or groups, or noting if an account is connected to other accounts that have already been removed for terrorism. The company is actively eliminating fake accounts and developing AI for all of their platforms as well. Encryption and counter-speech training will also play a big role in their counterterrorism efforts.

Although AI should help to reduce the amount of terrorist propaganda, Facebook also acknowledged that AI “can’t catch everything”. They noted that for example, “A photo of an armed man waving an ISIS flag might be propaganda or recruiting material, but could be an image in a news story.” Facebook will continue to employ terrorism and safety specialists and to make use of reports and reviews from Facebook users. Hopefully the identities of Facebook’s moderators will not be revealed to terrorists again.

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Facebook noted that they are not alone in their mission. The company shares a database of “hashes” or digital fingerprints of photos and videos with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube. Hack-athons in cities such as Manila, Dhaka and Jakarta as well as anti-terrorism campaigns have aided their efforts. Facebook also enjoys quite a bit of support from a number of governments and institutions such as the EU Internet Forum, the Global Coalition Against Daesh, and the UK Home Office.

Facebook has largely been quiet about their counter-terrorist efforts, but recently opened up due to the number of terrorist attacks. Hopefully the social media site’s efforts to become a “hostile place for terrorists” will help to reduce the number of terrorist attacks.