Date
17 November 2018
Facebook has for the first time released detailed data about the kinds of posts it takes down for violating its rules. Photo: Reuters
Facebook has for the first time released detailed data about the kinds of posts it takes down for violating its rules. Photo: Reuters

Facebook reports surge in posts with graphic violence

The number of posts on Facebook showing graphic violence rose in the first quarter of this year from the preceding three months, possibly driven by the war in Syria, the company said on Tuesday.

In its first public release of such data, Facebook said that of every 10,000 pieces of content viewed on the social platform in the first quarter, an estimated 22 to 27 pieces contained graphic violence, up from an estimate of 16 to 19 late last year, Reuters reports.

The company removed or put a warning screen for graphic violence in front of 3.4 million pieces of content in the first quarter, nearly triple the 1.2 million a quarter earlier, the world’s largest social network was quoted as saying in a published document.

Facebook does not fully know why people are posting more graphic violence but believes continued fighting in Syria may have been one reason, Reuters quoted Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president of data analytics, as saying.

“Whenever a war starts, there’s a big spike in graphic violence,” Schultz told reporters at Facebook’s headquarters.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media firm, has never previously released detailed data about the kinds of posts it takes down for violating its rules.

The company only recently developed the metrics as a way to measure its progress, and would probably change them over time, said Guy Rosen, its vice president of product management.

Facebook has a policy of removing content that glorifies the suffering of others. In general it leaves up graphic violence with a warning screen if it was posted for another purpose.

Facebook also prohibits hate speech and said it took action against 2.5 million pieces of content in the first quarter, up 56 percent from the quarter earlier. It said the rise was due to improvements in detection.

In the first quarter, the company took action on 837 million pieces of content for spam, 21 million pieces of content for adult nudity or sexual activity and 1.9 million for promoting terrorism, according to Facebook.

Also, it claims to have disabled 583 million fake accounts.

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CG/RC

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