Facebook Removed 2.5 Million Pieces of Hate Speech in the First Quarter

What's the score

Along with fake accounts, Facebook said in its transparency report that it had removed 21 million pieces of content featuring sex or nudity, 2.5 million pieces of hate speech and nearly 2 million items related to terrorism by Al Qaida and ISIS in the first quarter of 2018.

The company did not explain the jump in such posts, but Alex Schultz, its vice president of data analytics, said releasing the data is a part of an attempt to work with the community to improve Facebook. The rate at which we can do this is high for some violations, meaning we find and flag most content before users do. Its systems spotted almost 100 percent of spam and terrorist propaganda, almost 99 percent of fake accounts and around 96 percent of posts with adult nudity and sexual activity.

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. The company said the report has data on "how much content people saw that violates our standards; how much content we removed; and how much content we detected proactively using our technology - before people who use Facebook reported it". "It's partly that technology like artificial intelligence, while promising, is still years away from being effective for most bad content because context is so important".

Over the past year, the company has repeatedly touted its plans to expand its team of reviewers from 10,000 to 20,000.

On Tuesday, Facebook said it took action on some 2.5 million hateful pieces of content in the first three months of 2018, up from 1.6 million in the last three months of 2017.

The posts that keep the Facebook reviewers the busiest are those showing adult nudity or sexual activity - quite apart from child pornography, which is not covered by the report. But a recent report from the Washington Post found that Facebook's facial recognition technology may be limited in how effectively it can catch fake accounts, as the tool doesn't yet scan a photo against all of the images posted by all 2.2 billion of the site's users to search for fake accounts.

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"It may take a human to understand and accurately interpret nuances like. self-referential comments or sarcasm", the report said, noting that Facebook aims to "protect and respect both expression and personal safety".

It also means content in private groups, which will never be reported by members of the group, can be flagged and dealt with.

Spam: Facebook says it took action on 837 million pieces of spam content in Q1, up 15% from 727 million in Q4.

In a self-assessment, Facebook said its policing system is better at scrubbing graphic violence, gratuitous nudity and terrorist propaganda. It estimates that overall, 3-4% of its monthly active users are fake.

The social media giant promised the report will be the first of a series seeking to measure how prevalent violations of its content rules are, how much content they remove or otherwise take action on, how much of it they find before it is flagged by users, and how quickly they take action on violations.

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