MW Facebook admits New Zealand shooting video reveals gaps in its AI but pushes back on time-delay policy
By Rachel Koning Beals
Video wasn't prioritized for accelerated review once it was flagged due to lack of comparable examples
Streaming of the live Facebook Inc. video of the New Zealand mosque shootings revealed shortcomings in its technology, the social media giant conceded, at the same time that the company pushed back against implementing a time delay for video.
Guy Rosen, Facebook's(FB) vice president for integrity, said in comments posted late Wednesday (https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/03/technical-update-on-new-zealand/) that the company's artificial intelligence tools initially failed to catch the shooter's live video of the terrorist attack Christchurch mosques last week that killed 50 people.
Rosen said the video wasn't prioritized for accelerated review once it was flagged by a user because its accelerated reviews are largely focused on reports of suicide attempts.
Read:Founder of 8chan expresses regret in wake of New Zealand massacre (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/founder-of-8chan-expresses-regret-in-wake-of-new-zealand-massacre-2019-03-20)
"Many people have asked why artificial intelligence (AI) didn't detect the video from last week's attack automatically. AI has made massive progress over the years and in many areas, which has enabled us to proactively detect the vast majority of the content we remove. But it's not perfect," Rosen said.
"AI systems are based on 'training data,' which means you need many thousands of examples of content in order to train a system that can detect certain types of text, imagery or video," he said.
"This approach has worked very well for areas such as nudity, terrorist propaganda and also graphic violence where there is a large number of examples we can use to train our systems. However, this particular video did not trigger our automatic detection systems," Rosen said in the post, adding that no users reported the video during the live broadcast.
Facebook took down the video after being alerted by New Zealand authorities. By then, however, the video, which shows men, women and children being gunned down during Friday prayers, had been viewed about 4,000 times on the site, Facebook said, and copied on other sites.
Still, the company has doubled down on AI as a solution, in addition to using about 15,000 content reviewers.
Criticism after the attack has focused on Facebook's live broadcast tool. Some critics have called on the site to impose a time delay during which videos could be checked. Rosen said in the post that a delay would be swamped by the millions of live videos broadcast daily and would actually slow flags sent by users.
Facebook shares are up about 26% in the year to date.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban Thursday on semi-automatic and automatic weapons (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-zealand-bans-assault-weapons-just-days-after-mosque-massacre-2019-03-20) like the ones used in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 worshippers.
-Rachel Koning Beals; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 21, 2019 06:43 ET (10:43 GMT)
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