Facebook is exploring 'hard questions', and it's asking for your input


Facebook has confronted elevated scrutiny this previous yr over the way it handles points such person privateness, violent content material and terrorist propaganda. 

With the scrutiny has come questions concerning the position Facebook performs in society, the duties it has, and what modifications it may well make to be a safer house for customers.

To present extra transparency about why Facebook makes the alternatives it does regarding a few of the hardest challenges of our time, the social community, which is closing in on two billion customers worldwide, has launched a brand new initiative known as Hard Questions. 

Vice President for Public Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage writes in a weblog publish that as a part of the initiative, Facebook will open up about quite a lot of “complex subjects”. This means explaining its decision-making in these areas in addition to exploring the questions they fire up. 

Examples of the sorts of questions Facebook will tackle embody how on-line platforms ought to forestall terrorists from spreading propaganda on-line, what ought to occur to an individual’s on-line identification after they die, who decides what’s controversial content material or what’s deemed pretend information, and the way customers of all ages can take part in social media in a protected manner. 

These are, certainly, laborious questions, and Facebook says “sometimes we get it wrong” within the selections it makes. 

The intention with the Hard Questions initiative is to not less than give customers a greater understanding of how Facebook got here to its selections, and present it is taking these points significantly. 

Facebook is inviting customers to submit concepts on subjects to debate, in addition to strategies on what it may well enhance upon. If you’ve concepts or strategies, ship them to hardquestions@fb.com.

Countering terrorism with tech and AI

Facebook’s first Hard Questions publish went up shortly after its announcement and discusses how the corporate counters terrorism on-line. 

Recent terrorist assaults have led some to name for tech firms, together with Facebook, Google and Twitter, to do extra to assist forestall terrorists from spreading propaganda by their channels. 

“Our stance is simple: There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism,” state Monika Bickert, director of world coverage administration, and Brian Fishman, counterterrorism coverage supervisor, in at the moment’s publish. 

Facebook makes use of a variety of methods to establish, take away and report terrorists and terrorist posts, they clarify, together with synthetic intelligence. 

Some of the “cutting edge techniques” Facebook makes use of embody picture matching, language understanding, figuring out terrorist clusters, detecting new pretend accounts created by repeat offenders, and extra intently sharing information between Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram to shortly and successfully act in opposition to terrorists and terrorist posts. 

Facebook can be working with different firms, together with Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube, to establish content material that is produced by or helps terrorist organizations. 

Humans play an vital position in Facebook’s counter terrorism efforts, Bickert and Fishman write. A workers that can develop by three,000 over the following yr works across the clock to evaluate user-reported content material, and Facebook employs greater than 150 individuals from a variety of related skilled backgrounds who work completely or totally on combating terrorism.

These are a few of the efforts Facebook has undertaken to struggle terrorism, and the instruments and methods the corporate makes use of are solely doubtless to enhance over time. 

“We are absolutely committed to keeping terrorism off our platform,” write Bickert and Fishman, “and we’ll continue to share more about this work as it develops in the future.”

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