back to article Facebook has a solution to all the toxic dross on its site – wait, it's not AI?

Facebook is once again trying to scrub clean its public image after it was criticized for allowing extremism to spread on its social media platform. “Our stance is simple: There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism. We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them,” the company declared in …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Nice try...

    Muting my cynicism filter for a moment, sounds like a nice try. But whether they are using badly-paid humans or AI, how quick and easy will the appeal process be? Particularly with AI checking images, I can see images being wrongly classified as trrrrst and an account being closed, and it then taking several weeks of complaints and 'the computer says no' before you, may, possibly get your pictures of your pet naked mole-rats restored.

    How does this AI image matching work? Obviously it has to be a bit fuzzy, or all the nutter has to do is tweak the colours or do a bit of cropping to alter it. But how fuzzy? Does that photo of Brenda tapping the new Sir Thingumy Whatsit on the shoulder look too like a beheading shot?

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: pictures of your pet naked mole-rats...

      Those probably get flagged as kiddie-porn anyway...

  2. israel_hands
    Facepalm

    Hmmmm

    [i]Cross-platform collaboration: Preventing the same terrorist accounts accessing other of Facebook’s apps, including WhatsApp and Instagram, by sharing user data among the different platforms.[/i]

    So now they get to advance their data-slurp and claim it's for the greater good. With ideas like that it's no wonder Zuckerberg is thinking about getting into politics...

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Zuckerberg's third vision?

    A bunch of Oompah-Loompas, toiling behind the scenes at removing bales of hate from the premises all day long, singing loudly while they do so.

  4. jake Silver badge

    Earth to Zmuck ...

    "Facebook has a solution to all the toxic dross on its site"

    So do I ... avoid FB entirely. Works for me.

    That said, I'm reminded of a story ... About a hundred years ago in Internet Time (2012ish), I was helping a friend clean up a recently purchased property off of Red Rock Road, North of Reno, Nevada. He asked me to "take all the rocks off that hillside with the backhoe". My jaw about hit the ground ... the poor guy honestly didn't realize that the rocks were the hillside ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Earth to Zmuck ...

      So do I ... avoid FB entirely. Works for me.

      That is something I have been advocating for several years now. So far I have been banging my head against a brick wall when trying to persuade others to do the same.

  5. DropBear Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Algorithms still have trouble understanding the broader context of what makes content harmful and if something should be considered terrorism or not."

    "Still"? "Still...?!?" How about "algorithms will never not have trouble understanding the broader context of what makes content harmful and if something should be considered terrorism or not - and for that matter, so will humans..."

  6. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Expensive...

    They'll need armies of people speaking a multitude of languages, this is a proper challenge.

    Won't be good for the bottom line.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Expensive...

      I wonder if they forgot the lesson from AOL of about 20 years ago... get volunteers to do the dirty work. It will give everyone a sense of "community" just like it did back then.

  7. RonWheeler

    I assume

    Guardian readers giving their deep thought ' you're a Daily Mail readering Nazi' stuff still won't be hate, just usual rational argument?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism"

    Does that mean they are going to remove the conservatives now they have got into bed with the DUP?

    Sorry couldn't resist.

    Those over 150 people focusing on countering terrorism are going to be busy with those 1.94 billion users, good luck and all that. It was nice of Facebook to release a meaningless blog to keep the shareholders happy and governments off their back.

  9. werdsmith Silver badge

    Removing all the toxic dross on facebook will mean that the virtue signallers have nowhere to demonstrate their righteousness and there will be nothing left.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      "Removing all the toxic dross on facebook will mean that the virtue signallers have nowhere to demonstrate their righteousness and there will be nothing left".

      I think there would be much rejoicing from the rest of us, if that ever happened.

    2. strum Silver badge

      >virtue signallers

      You do realise that the use of this phrase does nothing but signal your lack of judgment?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Yes, but it's best not to say so at parties.

        People prefer to deride the tossers, not defend them.

        You do realise that your reply seems to give away that you might be self-conscious about some previous virtue signalling.

        1. jake Silver badge

          You do realize that ...

          ... by using the term "virtue signaling" in that manor, you are in fact doing the very thing you are trying to decry?

  10. PhilipN Silver badge

    Alternatively, or additionally ...

    FB want to do just enough to avoid a charge of conspiring with a terrorist cell.

    And, I am not sold on this one (yet) but there could be an advantage in allowing the cells to flourish under the watchful eye of the Bill so's they can, I dunno, catch early signs of increasing radicalism? Otherwise by comparison how difficult is it, for example, to know who goes on the special watch list (and his known associates)? I'm asking.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But

    What will be left?

    Cat pics?

  12. Putters

    Worked with a guy who used to work for the British Board of Film Classification setting ratings for porn (back in the VHS days). He could be a little weird at times.

    Gods alone know what these poor sods would be like after a year of watching the output of extremists, jihadists and other assorted nut jobs.

    1. Flakk Silver badge

      I was thinking the same thing. Microsoft was in the news recently because a couple of its content reviewers complained that the company wasn't taking their mental health complaints seriously. From conversations that I have had with digital forensics investigators, I've come away with the impression that it can be heart-rending work.

  13. CustardGannet
    Flame

    "Over 150 people are employed by the California giant to focus on countering terrorism"

    Let's assume each dross-monkey is paid $30K/pa.

    Farcebook is currently raking in ~$8 BEEEELLLION profit per year.

    So they're spending just over 1/20th of 1% (0.0005625) of their profit to fight terror.

    Wow, thanks guys, we knew we could rely on you

    ...to be a bunch of twunts.

    1. Flakk Silver badge

      Re: "Over 150 people are employed by the California giant to focus on countering terrorism"

      I wouldn't even give them that much credit. They're making these changes solely out of liability and regulatory concerns. The article stated that FB was seeking to use algorithms to automatically drop any identified terrorism-related content uploads. It said absolutely nothing about locking or flagging accounts and alerting the police.

  14. Suricou Raven

    150 people.

    15,000 people working full time might be enough to keep up. 150 is a joke.

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