Thu, May 16, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Facebook to limit livestreaming in violence crackdown

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook yesterday announced that it is tightening access to livestreaming to prevent the rampant sharing of graphic video like that of the Christchurch massacre.

People who have broken certain rules, including those against “dangerous organizations and individuals,” would be restricted from using the Facebook Live streaming feature, vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said.

“Following the horrific recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, we’ve been reviewing what more we can do to limit our services from being used to cause harm or spread hate,” he said in a statement.

In March, a self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people at two Christchurch mosques and broadcast live footage of the violence on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

A “one-strike” policy at Facebook Live would be applied to a broader range of offenses, with those who breach serious policies suspended from using the feature after a single offense.

Such breaches would include sharing a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context, Rosen said.

“We plan on extending these restrictions to other areas over the coming weeks, beginning with preventing those same people from creating ads on Facebook,” he said.

Technical innovation is needed to get ahead of the kind of “adversarial media manipulation” seen after the New Zealand mosque massacre, such as users modifying videos in order to slip past filters, he added.

“One of the challenges we faced in the days after the attack was a proliferation of many different variants of the video of the attack,” Rosen said.

“People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video, which made it hard for our systems to detect,” he added.

Facebook announced that it was investing US$7.5 million into research partnerships with three US universities to improve image and video analysis technology.

“This work will be critical for our broader efforts against manipulated media, including ‘deepfakes,’” Rosen said, a reference to videos altered using artificial intelligence.

“We hope it will also help us to more effectively fight organized bad actors who try to outwit our systems as we saw happen after the Christchurch attack,” he added.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the move as “a good first step.”

“The March 15 terrorist highlighted just how easily livestreaming can be misused for hate. Facebook has made a tangible first step to stop that act being repeated on their platform,” she said.

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