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Facebook, Instagram pull millions of posts

Posts cited for violating terrorism, child porn terms

FILE PHOTO: The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017.   REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

Facebook removed tens of millions of user posts in the past six months for violating its terms of service regarding child pornography, drug sales and terrorism.

Millions more were removed from Instagram.

That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by Facebook that details how the social media company enforces its own content policies.

The report, which is published every six months and for the first time includes data from Instagram, said that Facebook identifies most of the content it removes automatically using its own software algorithms.

The numbers provide a reminder of the scale at which Facebook operates. Some of the highlights from the report:

• Facebook removed 11.6 million pieces of content related to child pornography in the quarter ended in September.

Facebook says its algorithms identified 99 percent of that content. Instagram removed another 754,000 pieces of content, with an automatic detection rate of just under 95 percent.

By comparison, in the first quarter, Facebook removed 5.8 million pieces of content related to child porn or exploitation.

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• Facebook removed 4.4 million pieces of content related to drug sales in the third quarter, and another 2.3 million related to firearm sales.

That was up from 841,000 and 609,000 pieces respectively six months earlier.

• Facebook said that 80 percent of the hate speech it removed from the service in the third quarter was detected by its software systems. That’s up from 68 percent of the hate speech removed in the first three months of the year.

• Terrorism content is slightly harder to identify on Instagram than on Facebook. Facebook proactively identified 98.5 percent of all terrorism content — including 99 percent related to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Instagram removed 92.2 percent of terrorism content using software algorithms.

• Facebook also said it removed 1.7 billion fake accounts in the third quarter — 500 million fewer fake accounts than it took down in the first quarter when it eliminated a record 2.2 billion.

The company says this decline is due to better preventive measures it has put in place which prevent “millions of attempts to create fake accounts” every day.

“Because we are blocking more attempts to create fake, abusive accounts before they are even created, there are fewer for us to disable,” Facebook explained in the report.

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