Tuesday, 29 August 2017 09:34

Facebook 'struggling' to cope with spam, hate speech Featured


Social media behemoth Facebook has admitted that it struggles to control the avalanche of hate speech, spam and fraud on its two billion accounts, turning off more than a million accounts every day.

The admission came from the company's chief security officer Alex Stamos, who added that given the overwhelming volume of interactions among its users it was unable to stop all "threat actors", CNBC reported.

However, this has not stopped Facebook from searching for its next billion users, with founder Mark Zuckerberg pushing hard for a means to expand into China.

Stamos also confessed that Facebook often wrongly removed material from its user accounts that was found later not to have broken any of the site's rules.

"When you're dealing with millions and millions of interactions, you can't create these rules and enforce them without (getting some) false positives," he told a discussion in San Francisco last week.

Stamos claimed that Facebook's rules were to blame for this helplessness in the face of material that was deemed unsuitable for public consumption, but put the blame on the technical challenges in laying down the law.

While some have accused Facebook of jumping the gun when it comes to censoring material, others have said the social media network is too lax when it comes to allowing terrorists to use the medium for nefarious purposes.

Also present at the discussion was the Electronic Frontier Foundation's cyber security director Eva Galperin who accused the company of not being transparent about what it deemed unfit for publication and what should be taken down.

But Stamos hit back, saying it was "not just a bunch of white guys" who made the rules.

"When you turn up the volume on hate speech, you'll get more false positives, (and) catch people who are just talking about it," he claimed.

Zuckerberg has said the company plans to recruit 3000 people to inspect posts and take down what is deemed to be offensive.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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