Facebook reveals amount of abusive content discovered and removed from site

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Facebook's new report, which it plans to update twice a year, comes a month after the company published its internal rules for how reviewers decide what content should be removed.

"This is in addition to the millions of fake account attempts we prevent daily from ever registering with Facebook", Rosen said in the post, noting that "most of the action we take to remove bad content is around spam and the fake accounts they use to distribute it".

The quarterly report will also mention how much of the content against the guidelines was seen by its users and how much of it was removed upon reporting and how much was removed even before a user reported the content that violates its guidelines.

837m pieces of spam were removed in the first quarter of 2018 alone, almost 100pc of which Facebook says was flagged before any users reported it. 583m fake accounts were disabled in Q1 of this year, in addition to the millions of registration attempts prevented by the company.

For hate speech, "our technology still doesn't work that well and so it needs to be checked by our review teams", VP of product management Guy Rosen wrote in a separate post.

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".

These releases come in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has left the company battling to restore its reputation with users and developers - though employees have said the decision to release the Community Standards was not driven by recent events.

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Facebook took down 837 million pieces of spam in Q1 2018.

These metrics may seem high, but when you consider the massive amount of both accounts and content that are going through Facebook each day, it's a relatively small fraction of the entirety of the social media platform.

The company said most of the increase was the result of improvements in detection technology. Which is to say, this doesn't mean that 0.22% of the content posted on Facebook contained graphic violence; just that the graphic content posted accounted for 0.22% of total views.

Facebook estimates that 3-4% of monthly active users during the last three months of 2017 and first three months of 2018 were fake. Additionally, the site got rid of 21 million examples of adult nudity, 3.5 million violent posts and 2.5 million pieces of hate speech.

Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of hate speech content during the period, a 56 increase over October-December.

While the removal of 583 million fake Facebook accounts is certainly noteworthy, it does little to address concerns regarding actual user privacy. In this case, 86% was flagged by its technology.

It's not surprising that Facebook's automated programs have the greatest difficulty trying to figure out differences between permissible opinions and despicable language that crosses the line, Carone said.

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