Facebook Is Using AI To Thwart Global Terrorism

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 19, 2017

cyber threat

Social media giant Facebook said that it has started using ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) to help combat terrorists’ from across the globe to use its platform. The company said it is using AI as a tool to fight the menace as it faces growing pressure from government and business leaders to identify and prevent the spread of content from terrorist groups on its massive social network.

Facebook officials said in a recent blog post  that the company uses AI to find and remove the “terrorist content” immediately, before users see it. This is a departure from Facebook’s usual policy of only reporting suspect content if users report it first.They also say that when the company receives reports of potential “terrorism posts,” it reviews those reports urgently. In addition, it says that in the rare cases when it uncovers evidence of imminent harm, it promptly informs authorities.

The post came shortly after news broke that James Hodgkinson, the man who on Wednesday shot and critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball practice, regularly posted angry extremist views on Facebook regarding President Donald Trump and other Republicans. That same Wednesday, Facebook removed Hodgkinson’s online profiles, according to various reports.

Facebook’s officials, Monika Bickert, Director of Global Policy Management, and Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Policy Manager explains how the social media giant is using artificial intelligence to keep terrorist content off Facebook - for the first time - and the ways Facebook is collaborating with partners outside our company to achieve greater results in this area.

“We want to find terrorist content immediately, before people in our community have seen it. Already, the majority of accounts we remove for terrorism we find ourselves. But we know we can do better at using technology — and specifically artificial intelligence — to stop the spread of terrorist content on Facebook. Although our use of AI against terrorism is fairly recent, it’s already changing the ways we keep potential terrorist propaganda and accounts off Facebook. We are currently focusing our most cutting edge techniques to combat terrorist content about ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates, and we expect to expand to other terrorist organizations in due course,” the experts said.

Facebook said that its AI technology allows its systems to image-match photos or videos that have previously been linked to terrorism, and reject such forbidden content before it is displayed.

The company is also experimenting with natural language recognition capabilities in order to identity content that have any offesive comment related to act of terrorism. To that end, Facebook has been feeding previously flagged content to its AI engine so that it does a better job recognizing such language in the future.

Additionally, Facebook is using algorithms to determine if various pages, posts, profiles and groups likely support terrorism based on connections and shared attributions with other confirmed terrorist pages. The company also claims it is getting faster at detecting new fake accounts created by repeat offenders. 

 We’ve also gotten much faster at detecting new fake accounts created by repeat offenders. Through this work, we’ve been able to dramatically reduce the time period that terrorist recidivist accounts are on Facebook, the authors wrote.

Facebook has also begun to apply these AI techniques to take down terrorist accounts additional platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

The experts believe the social media is also relying on its own human expertise to counter terrorism activity online, including its global Community Operations teams that review user complaints and reports through its 150 terrorism and safety specialists, and a global team that was formed to promptly respond to emergency law enforcement requests. The company also relies in cooperation with industry partners, governments and various community groups and non-governmental organizations, it said.