After admitting that it let Cambridge Analytica use its network to grab unwitting users' data, Facebook has been on thin ice with both consumers and government officials. Now, the company wants to show that it can do a decent job of policing itself.
Today, Facebook released its first Community Standards Enforcement Report, which details millions of pieces of content that have been removed from the site in 2018 for violating the network's standards. Of the roughly 1.5 billion posts and accounts that were removed from the site so far this year, the majority are spam (837 million) and fake accounts (583 million).
Removing the fake accounts is significant, as Facebook works on damage control after bots were allegedly used to influence elections. By releasing these numbers, Facebook can claim that it's getting a grip on its community. However, it's important to note that the company says it deleted even more fake accounts (694 million) in Q4 of 2017.
Numbers for other hot button issues caught in the cull include: adult nudity and sexual activity (21 million posts), graphic violence (3.4 million), hate speech (2.5 million), and terrorist propaganda (1.9 million).
While Facebook uses what it calls “detection technology” to root out offending posts and profiles, the software has difficulty detecting hate speech. 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.
Facebook noted in the report that, “Hate speech content often requires detailed scrutiny by our trained reviewers to understand context and decide whether the material violates standards.”
Whether this leaves room for human bias is yet to be seen. The renewed attempt at transparency is a nice start for a company that has come under fire for allowing its social network to host all kinds of offensive content. We'll have to see whether Facebook continues to share data with the public in the weeks and months ahead.