Facebook by numbers: Inappropriate content removal figures revealed

Entrance to Facebook's Menlo Park office

Facebook took down or applied warnings labels to about 3.5 million pieces of violent content in Q1 2018 - 86% of which was identified by our technology before it was reported to Facebook. But Facebook also moderated 2.5m pieces of hate speech, 1.9m pieces of terrorist propaganda, 3.4m pieces of graphic violence and 21m pieces of content featuring adult nudity and sexual activity.

In terms of disturbing content, the company's moderation guidelines specifically distinguish between revenge porn, suicidal posts, credible violence, bullying, and more.

A spokeswoman later said that Facebook blocks "disturbing or sensitive content such as graphic violence" so that users under 18 can not see it "regardless of whether it is removed from Facebook".

The figures are contained in an updated transparency report published by the company which for the first time contains data around content that breaches Facebook's community standards.

The social network estimates that it found and flagged 85% of that content prior to users seeing and reporting it - a higher level than previously due to technological advances. For every 10,000 views of content on Facebook, the company said, roughly 8 of them were removed for featuring sex or nudity in the first quarter, up from 7 views at the end of past year. "We tend to find and flag less of it, and rely more on user reports, than with some other violation types". Of the total 2.5 million hate speech posts removed, only 38 percent were pulled by Facebook's tech before users reported it. Compare that to the 95.8 percent of nudity or 99.5 percent of terrorist propaganda that Facebook purged automatically.

However, it declined to say how many minors - legal users who are between the ages of 13 and 17 - saw the offending content.

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Facebook disabled about 583 million fake accounts in Q1, most of which "were disabled within minutes of registration".

This was up by three quarters from 1.1m during the previous quarter because of improvements in Facebook's ability to find such content using photo detection technology. The inaugural report was meant to "help our teams understand what is happening" on the site, he said. The statistics cover a relatively short period, from October 2017 through March of this year, and don't disclose how long, on average, it takes Facebook to remove material violating its standards.

[Image: courtesy of Facebook]"We aim to reduce violations to the point that our community doesn't regularly experience them", Rosen and vice president of data analytics Alex Schultz write in the report.

"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", said Rosen. And more generally, as I explained last week, technology needs large amounts of training data to recognise meaningful patterns of behavior, which we often lack in less widely used languages or for cases that are not often reported.

Spam: Facebook says it took action on 837 million pieces of spam content in Q1, up 15% from 727 million in Q4.

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