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Mark Zuckerberg will no doubt be pleased that his social media behemoth is closing in on 2 billion monthly active users, but policing all that content isn’t easy. To help identify the offensive material and fake news that appears on the site, the company is increasingly turning to artificial intelligence. Now, it plans to do the same thing with Facebook Live.
Facebook has in the past relied on its users to flag inappropriate posts, which are then checked by company employees to see if they violate its rules. But artificial intelligence can detect this sort of content on its own. It’s “an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies,” Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning, told Reuters.
Using the same technology in live video streaming is a lot more tricky, which is why it’s still at the research stage. There are two major challenges, according to Candela: “One, your computer vision algorithm has to be fast, and I think we can push there, and the other one is you need to prioritize things in the right way so that a human looks at it, an expert who understands our policies, and takes it down.”
Facebook laid off its entire Trending Topics editorial team back in August, following accusations it was routinely suppressing conservative news stories. But the algorithmically-driven process that replaced the staff continues to surface fake items. Mark Zuckerberg said last month that the company is introducing better technical systems to address the problem, and has reached out to third-party fact-checking organizations.
In July, two graphic scenes of violence involving members of law enforcement were streamed on Facebook Live. The company was accused of censorship after it removed (but later restored) one of them.