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Facebook says it deletes 99 percent of ISIS and Al Qaeda content before it's flagged

Facebook says it uses artificial intelligence to recognize Islamic State and Al Qaeda-related content before its flagged by social media users. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Facebook says it's deleting nearly all terror-related content before anyone flags it.

"Today, 99 percent of the IS and Al Qaeda-related terror content we remove from Facebook is content we detect before anyone in our community has flagged it to us, and in some cases before it goes live on the site," Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, wrote in a post Tuesday.

Criticism has plagued the world's largest social media platform, and the company is working to prove it's focused on its counterterrorism efforts.

Earlier this year, it took Facebook two hours to pull down the video of the close-range shooting of an elderly man that was posted by the murder suspect. The suspect later killed himself.

How does Facebook find terror-related content?

Using mostly artificial intelligence techniques, including photo and video matching and text-based machine learning techniques, Facebook says it can more quickly detect terror-related content and stop the sharing of the content.

"Once we are aware of a piece of terror content, we remove 83% of subsequently uploaded copies within one hour of upload," according to the blog post.

But the company admits it's not always easy to recognize the extremist content.

“Deploying AI for counterterrorism is not as simple as flipping a switch. ... A system designed to find content from one terrorist group may not work for another because of language and stylistic differences in their propaganda,” Facebook said.

Facebook said it also enlists trained experts to review and enforce the techniques.

"[W]e tap expertise from inside the company and from the outside, partnering with those who can help address extremism across the Internet," the company wrote.

What else is Facebook doing to fight terrorism on social media?

This summer, Facebook announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. The social media giant joined forces with Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to stop the spread of terrorism and violent extremism across their platforms.

"Through GIFCT, we also engage with governments around the world and are preparing to jointly commission research on how governments, tech companies and civil society can fight online radicalization," Facebook noted.

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