dglobalnews.com Facebook says it wants 'to be a hostile place for terrorists'
Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Tech | By Arthur Brown

Facebook says it wants 'to be a hostile place for terrorists'

Facebook says it wants 'to be a hostile place for terrorists'

"Figuring out what supports terrorism and what does not isn't always straightforward, and algorithms are not yet as good as people when it comes to understanding this kind of context", wrote Monika Bickert, the company's director of global policy management and Counterterrorism Policy Manager Brian Fishman in a blog post.

Facebook is also working on "text-based signals" from material that has already been removed.

"We want Facebook to be a hostile place for terrorists", they said, adding: "We believe technology, and Facebook, can be part of the solution".

Facebook's blog post on Thursday was the first in a planned series of announcements to address "hard questions" facing the company, Elliot Schrage, vice president for public policy and communications, said in a statement.

Bickert and Fishman acknowledge this pressure in their post, writing that "in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online".

"This work is never finished because it is adversarial, and the terrorists are continuously evolving their methods too".

Besides, the two executives wrote that Facebook will grow its community operations teams around the world by 3,000 people over the next year, who will work 24 hours a day and in dozens of languages to review accounts or content that may violate its policies, including those that may be related to terrorism.

The only downside is that this new form of image scanning doesn't prevent people from joining Facebook, then using it to communicate with and ultimately recruit others using messaging.

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Terrorism content is not limited to Facebook and the company said they are forming crucial partnerships with other companies, civil society, researchers and governments.

Earlier this week in Paris, the British prime minister and the president of France launched a joint campaign to ensure the internet could not be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals. The company now has a 150-person team dedicated exclusively to counterterrorism efforts, which includes academics, former law enforcement officials and engineers, along with a secondary team that can respond to major police requests. So no white supremacist terror groups or non-Islamic groups - although "we expect to expand to other terrorist organizations in due course", the post says.

"We're constantly identifying new ways that terrorist actors try to circumvent our systems and we update our tactics accordingly".

The company is also building an algorithm that aims to analyse written text to keep terrorism-related language off the platform.

Facebook is also working to bring these technologies to its other platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

Artificial intelligence is being deployed by Facebook in an effort to stop terrorists from using its website.

Along with Google's (GOOGL) YouTube, Twitter (TWTR) and Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook has joined a database that assigns digital fingerprints to militant content so partners can bar it from their own site. In their post, Bickert and Fishman said encryption was essential for journalists, aid workers and human rights campaigners as well as keeping banking details and personal photos secure from hackers.

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