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Facebook says it took down 583 million fake accounts in Q1 2018


As Facebook continues to grapple with spam, hate speech, and other undesirable content, the company is shedding more light on just how much content it is taking down or flagging each day. Facebook today published its first-ever Community Standards Enforcement Report, detailing what kind of action it took on content displaying graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, and spam. Among the most noteworthy numbers: Facebook said that it took down 583 million fake accounts in the three months spanning Q1 2018, down from 694 million in Q4 2017. That doesnt include what Facebook says are millions of fake accounts that the company catches before they can finish registering. The report comes just a few weeks after Facebook published for the first time detailed internal guidelines for how it enforces content takedowns. The numbers give users a better idea of the sheer volume of fake accounts Facebook is dealing with. The company has pledged in recent months to use facial recognition technology — which it also uses to suggest which Facebook friends to tag in photos — to catch fake accounts that might be using another persons photo as their profile picture. But a recent report from the Washington Post found that Facebooks facial recognition technology may be limited when it comes to detecting fake accounts, as the tool doesnt yet scan a photo against all of the images posted by all 2.2 billion of the sites users to search for fake accounts. Facebook also gave a breakdown of how much other undesirable content it removed during Q1 2018, as well as how much of it was flagged by its systems or reported by users: The numbers show that Facebook is still predominately relying on other people to catch hate speech — which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken about before, saying that its much harder to build an AI system that can determine what hate speech is then to build a system that can detect a nipple.   Facebook defines hate speech as a direct attack on people based on protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. The problem is that, as Facebooks VP of product management Guy Rosen wrote in the blog post announcing todays report, AI systems are still years away from becoming effective enough to be relied upon to catch most bad content. But hate speech is a problem for Facebook today, as the companys struggle to stem the flow of fake news and content meant to encourage violence against Muslims in Myanmar has shown.   And the companys failure to properly catch hate speech could push users off the platform before it is able to develop an AI solution. Facebook says it will continue to provide updated numbers every six months. The report published today spans from October 2017 to March 2018, with a breakdown comparing how much content the company took action on in various categories in Q4 2017 and Q1 2018.

Facebook has already removed 583 million fake accounts this year


It published a report on its community guideline enforcement efforts. Last month, Facebook published its internal community enforcement guidelines for the first time and today, the company has provided some numbers to show what that enforcement really looks like. In a new report that will be published quarterly, Facebook breaks down its enforcement efforts across six main areas -- graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam and fake accounts. The report details how much of that content was seen by Facebook users, how much of it was removed and how much of it was taken down before any Facebook users reported it. Spam and fake accounts were the most prevalent and in the first quarter of this year, Facebook removed 837 million pieces of spam and 583 million fake accounts. Additionally, the company acted on 21 million pieces of nudity and sexual activity, 3.5 million posts that displayed violent content, 2.5 million examples of hate speech and 1.9 million pieces of terrorist content. In some cases, Facebook's automated systems did a good job finding and flagging content before users could report it. Its systems spotted nearly 100 percent of spam and terrorist propaganda, nearly 99 percent of fake accounts and around 96 percent of posts with adult nudity and sexual activity. For graphic violence, Facebook's technology accounted for 86 percent of the reports. However, when it came to hate speech, the company's technology only flagged around 38 percent of posts that it took action on and Facebook notes it has more work to do there. " As Mark Zuckerberg said at F8, we have a lot of work still to do to prevent abuse," Facebook's VP of product management, Guy Rosen, said in a post. "It's partly that technology like artificial intelligence, while promising, is still years away from being effective for most bad content because context is so important." Throughout the report, Facebook shares how the most recent quarter's numbers compare to those of the quarter before it, and where there are significant changes, it notes why that might be the case. For example, with terrorist propaganda, Facebook says its increased removal rate is due to improvements in photo detection technology that can spot both old and newly posted content. "This is a great first step," the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jillian York told the Guardian. " However, we don't have a sense of how many incorrect takedowns happen -- how many appeals that result in content being restored. We'd also like to see better messaging to users when an action has been taken on their account, so they know the specific violation." "We believe that increased transparency tends to lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time, and publishing this information will push us to improve more quickly too," wrote Rosen. "This is the same data we use to measure our progress internally -- and you can now see it to judge our progress for yourselves. We look forward to your feedback."