Is Facebook Doing Enough to Stop Bad Content? You Be the Judge

Facebook disabled 1.3B fake accounts in 6 months

The company also removed 21 million pieces of content that contained adult nudity or sexual activity, flagging nearly 96 per cent of the content with its own systems. The company's internal "detection technology" has been efficient at taking down spam and fake accounts, removing them by the hundreds of millions during Q1.

Some 3.4 million pieces of content were either removed or labelled with a warning during the period covered by the report, with Facebook's improved detection systems picking up 85.6 per cent of the content it subsequently took action on.

The report looks at Facebook's enforcement efforts from Q4 2017 and Q1 2018, and shows an uptick in the prevalence of nudity and graphic violence on the platform.

In some instances, Facebook said it may cover graphic content with a warning that requires people to click to uncover it, to prevent it from accidentally being viewed by underage users.

The amount of content moderated by Facebook is influenced by both the company's ability to find and act on infringing material, and the sheer quantity of items posted by users.

"We're not releasing that in this particular report", said Alex Schultz, the company's vice president of data analytics.

Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said the company had substantially increased its efforts over the past 18 months to flag and remove inappropriate content.

Most of the content was found and flagged before users had a chance to spot it and alert the platform.

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For years, Facebook has relied on users to report offensive and threatening content.

In four of the six categories, it increased deletions over the previous quarter: spam (up 15% from the previous quarter), violent content (up 65%), hate speech (up 56%), and terrorist content (up 73%), while deletions of fake accounts were down 16%, and deletions of nudity and sexual activity saw no change.

The report did not cover the spread of false news directly, which it has previously said it was trying to stamp out by increasing transparency on who buys political ads, strengthening enforcement and making it harder for so-called "clickbait" from showing up in users' feeds.

Facebook "took action" on 3.4 million pieces of content that contained graphic violence. "We removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech in Q1 2018 - 38% of which was flagged by our technology".

The company has been using artificial intelligence to help pinpoint the bad content, but Rosen said the technology still struggles to understand the context around a Facebook post pushing hate, and one simply recounting a personal experience.

This led to old as well as new content of this type being taken down.

Now, however, artificial intelligence technology does much of that work. That doesn't include what Facebook says are "millions" of fake accounts that the company catches before they can finish registering. It says it found and flagged almost 100% of spam content in both Q1 and Q4. In this case, 86% was flagged by its technology.

"My top priorities this year are keeping people safe and developing new ways for our community to participate in governance and holding us accountable", wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post, adding: "We have a lot more work to do".

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