Facebook is fast becoming the flagship of the antisocial media after revealing that millions of accounts and almost a billion pieces of spam have been removed from the site this year.
The huge scale of abuse of all kinds on the web site is astonishing.
Facebook cites more than 2 billion users each month – but the truth is a massive amount of this activity is abuse and false accounts.
The company reports that in the first three months of the year, 583 million false accounts were removed and 837 million pieces of spam content were removed.
This flood of obnoxious malicious content is Facebook’s way of staving off claims the site is open to manipulation that could have changed the results of elections and allowed criminals to prosper.
Struggle to contain abuse
Most of this content was detected and taken down before a user reported the abuse – but that means it was seen by millions of people.
Facebook says the site is battling to keep up with the abuse– with artificial intelligence struggling to tackle hate speech with systems only successful for spotting 38% of the 2.5 million posts taken down.
“We have a lot of work still to do to prevent abuse. 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,” said vice president of product management, Guy Rosen,
“For example, artificial intelligence isn’t good enough yet to determine whether someone is pushing hate or describing something that happened to them, so they can raise awareness of the issue.
Spam, porn and fake accounts
“In addition, in many areas – whether it’s spam, porn or fake accounts – we’re up against sophisticated adversaries who continually change tactics to circumvent our controls, which means we must continuously build and adapt our efforts.
“It’s why we’re investing heavily in more people and better technology to make Facebook safer for everyone.”
Facebook suspects up to 4% of more than 2 billion monthly active users were fake.
The site also took down 21 million pieces of nudity and sexual activity-related content, 96% of which was found before being reported.
More than 3.4 million posts containing graphic violent content were either taken down or given warning labels, with 86% spotted by detection tools.