Facebook Removed Nearly 40% More Terrorist Content in Second Quarter -- 2nd Update
By Rachael Levy
Facebook Inc. removed nearly 40% more content that it
categorized as terrorism in the second quarter compared with the
first three months of the year, the company said.
Facebook removed about 8.7 million pieces of such content --
which includes, according to the company's definition, nonstate
actors that engage in or advocate for violence to achieve
political, religious or ideological aims -- in the second quarter
of this year, up from 6.3 million in the first quarter.
That increase "was largely driven by improvements in our
proactive detection technology to identify content that violates
[Facebook's] policy," a company spokeswoman said.
For "organized hate" groups, a separate category, the company
said it took down four million pieces of content, down from 4.7
million in the first quarter.
And in a third category, hate speech, the company said it
dramatically increased removals of such posts from Facebook and its
Instagram platform. It said it removed 3.3 million pieces of hate
speech from Instagram in the second quarter, more than triple the
amount the previous quarter, and 22.5 million pieces from Facebook,
more than double what it removed in the first quarter. The company
credited its technology's expansion into several languages,
including Spanish, Arabic and Indonesian, for the increase.
Instagram removed about 388,800 pieces of terrorist content,
down from 440,600 in the first quarter, but it removed more
organized hate content in the second quarter -- 266,000 pieces
versus 175,100 in the previous quarter.
White supremacist groups have been a focus for the social-media
giant. Since October of last year, the company said it completed 14
network takedowns to remove 23 organizations in violation of
Facebook's policies. The majority of those takedowns, nine of the
14, targeted "hate and/or white supremacist groups," including the
KKK, the Proud Boys, Blood & Honour and Atomwaffen, the company
Facebook has put more than 250 white supremacist groups on its
list of dangerous organizations, company officials earlier said,
putting them alongside jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda.
The tech giant also recently banned a large segment of the
boogaloo movement from its platform. Adherents of the
loosely-organized boogaloos include white supremacists.
Facebook removed the boogaloo accounts after a targeted
investigation by human analysts, officials said. The company has
increasingly turned to humans to assess networks that actively try
to avoid its automated content-monitoring tools.
Facebook's latest figures come after the company said in June it
took down posts and ads for President Trump's re-election campaign
because they violated the company's policy against "organized
hate." The campaign ads claimed that "Dangerous MOBS of far-left
groups" are causing mayhem and destroying cities and called on
supporters to back President Trump's battle against antifa, a
loosely organized activist movement that the White House has blamed
The ads featured a large, red downward-pointing triangle. The
inverted red triangle is a marking Nazis used to designate
political prisoners in concentration camps, according to the
Anti-Defamation League and other groups. The Trump campaign said
that the triangle is a common antifa symbol, though some experts on
extremist groups have disputed that.
Other social-media platforms have also faced pressure to remove
information tied to groups classified as terrorist organizations.
Last year, Twitter Inc. suspended accounts linked to Palestinian
group Hamas and Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah. U.S.
lawmakers had criticized Twitter for allowing those entities to
remain active on the platform even though the State Department
designated both as terrorist organizations.
Social-media companies have also faced tensions over how to
handle misleading posts. Twitter earlier this year labeled tweets
by President Trump about mail-in ballots as misinformation,
highlighting a widening divide among big tech platforms on how they
handle political speech as the U.S. presidential election
Write to Rachael Levy at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 11, 2020 15:39 ET (19:39 GMT)
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