Facebook says it’s improving its anti-terrorist effort

Facebook says its battle against terrorism is never-ending but also that it’s at least getting better at detecting and deleting content related to ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates.

“The improvements we’ve made to our technical tools have allowed for continued and sustained progress in finding and removing terrorist content from Facebook,” the company said Thursday in a blog post.

The social-media giant said it removed 3 million posts connected to terrorism in the third quarter, much of it identified by tools that detect the content more quickly. That’s down from 9.4 million pieces of terrorism-related content that it deleted in the previous quarter, it said.

In both quarters, Facebook said it took down 99 percent of terrorist content from ISIS and al-Qaeda before it was reported by others in the community.

Posts reported by users stayed up for 18 hours before getting removed, down from 43 hours in the first quarter, the company said. 

“We still rely on specialized reviewers to evaluate most posts, and only immediately remove posts when the tool’s confidence level is high enough that its ‘decision’ indicates it will be more accurate than our human reviewers,” wrote Monika Bickert, Facebook’s global head of policy management, and Brian Fishman, its head of counterterrorism policy.

“We can reduce the presence of terrorism on mainstream social platforms,” they concluded, “but eliminating it completely requires addressing the people and organizations that generate this material in the real-world.”

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