Monday January 21, 2019
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Child Nudity Tackles By Facebook By Removing Posts

NCMEC said it is working with Facebook to develop software to decide which tips to assess first.

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institute will help advance the growing field of ethical research on new technology and will explore fundamental issues affecting the use and impact of AI. VOA

Facebook Inc said on Wednesday that company moderators during the last quarter removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of previously undisclosed software that automatically flags such photos.

The machine learning tool rolled out over the last year identifies images that contain both nudity and a child, allowing increased enforcement of Facebook’s ban on photos that show minors in a sexualized context.

A similar system also disclosed Wednesday catches users engaged in “grooming,” or befriending minors for sexual exploitation.

Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis told Reuters in an interview that the “machine helps us prioritize” and “more efficiently queue” problematic content for the company’s trained team of reviewers.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The company is exploring applying the same technology to its Instagram app.

Under pressure from regulators and lawmakers, Facebook has vowed to speed up removal of extremist and illicit material.

Machine learning programs that sift through the billions of pieces of content users post each day are essential to its plan.

Machine learning is imperfect, and news agencies and advertisers are among those that have complained this year about Facebook’s automated systems wrongly blocking their posts.

Davis said the child safety systems would make mistakes but users could appeal.

“We’d rather err on the side of caution with children,” she said.

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A protester wearing a mask with the face of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is flanked by two fellow activists wearing angry face emoji masks, during a protest against Facebook policies, in London, Britain (From archives) VOA

Facebook’s rules for years have banned even family photos of lightly clothed children uploaded with “good intentions,” concerned about how others might abuse such images.

Before the new software, Facebook relied on users or its adult nudity filters to catch child images. A separate system blocks child pornography or child nudity that has previously been reported to authorities.

Facebook has not previously disclosed data on child nudity removals, though some would have been counted among the 21 million posts and comments it removed in the first quarter for sexual activity and adult nudity.

Facebook said the program, which learned from its collection of nude adult photos and clothed children photos, has led to more removals. It makes exceptions for art and history, such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a naked girl fleeing a Vietnam War napalm attack.

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Facebook’s head of global safety policy Antigone Davis speaks during an event at the White House. VOA

Protecting minors

The child grooming system evaluates factors such as how many people have blocked a particular user and whether that user quickly attempts to contact many children, Davis said.

Michelle DeLaune, chief operating officer at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), said the organization expects to receive about 16 million child porn tips worldwide this year from Facebook and other tech companies, up from 10 million last year.

With the increase, NCMEC said it is working with Facebook to develop software to decide which tips to assess first.

Still, DeLaune acknowledged that a crucial blind spot is encrypted chat apps and secretive “dark web” sites where much of new child pornography originates.

Also Read: Facebook Rolls Out A Simplified Version Of Messenger

Encryption of messages on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, for example, prevents machine learning from analyzing them.

DeLaune said NCMEC would educate tech companies and “hope they use creativity” to address the issue. (VOA)

Next Story

Facebook Set to Launch a Petitions Feature For its Users

"There are some limits already: users can't tag President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence," said another report in The Verge

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook is set to launch a petitions feature called “Community Actions” that will let users request change from their local and national elected officials and government agencies.

According to a report in TechCrunch late Sunday, “Community Actions” will be a petition feature in Facebook’s News Feed and reach users in the US on Tuesday and other markets later.

“Users can add a title, description, and image to their ‘Community Action’, and tag relevant government agencies and officials who’ll be notified,” the report added.

Supporters for any given petition will be able to discuss the topic with fellow supporters, creating events and fundraisers.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

However, the “Community Actions” feature could also provide “vocal interest groups a bully pulpit from which to pressure politicians and bureaucrats with their fringe agendas”.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, “Community Action” is another way for people to advocate for changes in their communities and partner with elected officials and government agencies on solutions.

Also Read- Nepal’s Central Bank Announces Ban of Indian Notes Above Rs 100

Since bad actors can misuse such features, Facebook will use “a combination of user flagging, proactive algorithmic detection, and human enforcers,” to safeguard the “Community Action” feature from falling into wrong hands.

“There are some limits already: users can’t tag President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence,” said another report in The Verge. (IANS)