New Delhi: Facebook Inc. is removing around one million abusive accounts every day using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the Mark Zuckerberg-led social media firm said Monday, three days ahead of the first phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning help Facebook, at a large scale, to identify abusive or violating content, quickly locate it across the platform and remove it in bulk, Facebook India managing director and vice-president Ajit Mohan wrote in a blog post.
“This dramatically reduces its ability to spread. We continue to expand on this initiative, adding 24 new languages—including 16 for India—to our automatic translation system," Mohan said in the blog post.
According to the blog post, Facebook is working with its family of apps, which includes Instagram and WhatsApp, to make sure the general elections are fair and free from interference—both foreign and domestic. Recently, Facebook took down nearly 700 pages linked to individuals, majority of which were associated with the Congress, along with an IT firm Silver Touch which has worked with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for spamming users.
Facebook said it will activate new regional operations centres, focused on election integrity, in Singapore and Dublin. The centres will include teams comprising engineers, operations specialists and data scientists, and will work closely with staff at its Menlo Park headquarters, as well as with local experts in Delhi.
“This structure helps strengthen our global coordination and speed our response times, adding another layer of defense against false news, misinformation, hate speech and voter suppression," said Mohan.
The work on securing fair elections, both in India and around the globe, began more than 18 months ago with a detailed planning and risk assessment across platforms.
“The findings allowed us to concentrate our work on key areas, including blocking and removing fake accounts; fighting the spread of misinformation; stopping abuse by domestic actors; spotting attempts at foreign meddling; and taking action against inauthentic coordinated campaigns," he explained.
Facebook, which has over 240 million Indian users, has a team which fact-checks posts and visual media in eight languages and it is also carrying disclaimers with all political ads that appear on its platform.
It recently joined other social media companies in a voluntary code of ethics for the general elections with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The code includes measures like a dedicated communications channel for notice and take-down after receiving a legal order, processing of valid requests in the blackout period ahead of voting and voter education efforts. Even policymakers, candidates and their staff are being trained to improve their cybersecurity and awareness for how their accounts could be hacked or abused.
“During elections, times of conflict or political turmoil, these accounts can be at higher risk of threats and abuse, so we help them learn how to be proactive and look for signals that their accounts could be harmed," Mohan added.