FACEBOOK PURGED 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of 2018, demonstrating the amount of spam, violent content and hate speech that gets smeared across the social network.
In Facebook's snappily titled Community Standards Enforcement Report, the company revealed that it cleansed around 1.5 billion posts and accounts that violated its community standards between January and March this year.
This digital spring clean mostly saw Facebook strip spam posts and fake accounts from its social network. But its also had its moderators tackle 2.5 million incidences of hate speech and 1.9 million pieces of content that related to terrorist propaganda.
Facebook has some 1.5 billion users on its platform, so it's arguably expected that some of the nastier sides of humanity will find its way onto the social network.
But Facebook also had to cleanse 3.4 million pieces of content with graphic violence and 21 million pieces of content featuring sexual activity and nudity. Guess you're friend's continuous posting of holiday snaps from 'mad timezzzz in Ibiza' doesn't look so bad after all.
While Facebook has been working on smart tech to detect and clear nasty content, Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, noted it's tech isn't yet smart enough to stop policy-violating content from sliding onto the social network.
"We have a lot of work still to do to prevent abuse. 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," Rosen said. "For example, artificial intelligence isn't good enough yet to determine whether someone is pushing hate or describing something that happened to them so they can raise awareness of the issue."
"Technology needs large amounts of training data to recognise meaningful patterns of behaviour, which we often lack in less widely used languages or for cases that are not often reported. In addition, in many areas — whether it's spam, porn or fake accounts — we're up against sophisticated adversaries who continually change tactics to circumvent our controls, which means we must continuously build and adapt our efforts."
While Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg may not want to pop over to Britain to talk to MPs about privacy and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook seems to be going all mea culpa over its social network policies and the challenges it faces.
We doubt we'll see unacceptable content get properly scrubbed from Facebook anytime soon, but we remain curious to see what smart tech Facebook comes up with to shift the tide of battle against nasty posts and fake accounts in its favour. µ
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