Facebook Uses AI as a Weapon Against Terrorism

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In the wake of recent terror attacks, Facebook has issued a statement through their newsroom on countering radicalization. The social media platform is immensely popular, with worldwide users reaching 1.94 billion each month. It also can’t be denied that even terrorist groups have easy access to their website. As a result, Facebook has been faced with criticisms over their lack of efforts to eradicate terrorist propaganda from their pages.

Throughout the first half of 2017, there have been 571 terrorist attacks recorded, which resulted in 3,924 fatalities around the world. Infamous perpetrator groups involved in these separate attacks include Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, PKK, and other unknown entities. Just last year, it was discovered that these terror groups have also invaded the web with their illegal activities. They were using Facebook to create closed groups to buy and sell weapons and make secure payment through Messenger.

Facebook finally decided that they've had enough, deploying one of their best soldiers to stop terrorists from using their website—artificial intelligence. As explained by the team, the technology is similar to that used to block child pornography. The algorithm also aims to eradicate hate speech and the efforts of jihadist recruiters.

Currently, the social media platform’s AI algorithms can counter-terrorism in the following ways:

Trace Terrorist Content: Although it is still in the experimental stage, Facebook aims to perfect its “language understanding” algorithm. This can help identify terrorist content through text-based signals.

Find Terrorist Clusters: The AI is designed to look for terrorism-associated pages, posts, groups, personal accounts, and other materials that support terrorism content. It can also determine whether an account that has been disabled for terrorism shares the same attributes with an active account.

Image Matching: The algorithm also helps the social media site to recognize images or videos that have previously been flagged. Doing so will prevent the upload and sharing of any terrorist propaganda.

Furthermore, Facebook is said to be currently developing another algorithm that will help them investigate terrorist activity across other platforms. WhatsApp and Instagram, which belong to the family of Facebook apps, are also popular among terrorists.

To strengthen their defenses, the company has admitted to using human efforts as well. From academic experts on counterterrorism, former law enforcement agents and analysts, former prosecutors, to engineers, Facebook has employed a lot of these professionals to continue the fight against terrorism the best way they know how.

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