Facebook is tracking violent language, and it's on the rise

  • A recent report suggests that Facebook is actively tracking incitement and violent language from users, and it's on the rise.

    We've known for some time that social media tech companies are aggregating data from all the content we post online, and this data has been used for everything from advertising to designing new features. It turns out that they're also actively compiling sociological data too, such as the sentiment in the language used in posts.

    BuzzFeed News reports that it's seen information from Facebook's internal messaging system that indicates there's been a sharp increase in violent language over the past week. It indicates that Facebook compiles a metric for "Violence and Incitement Trends" and that this metric shot up 45% in the first few days of November.

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    The internal messages seem to indicate that Facebook tracks activity on problematic key phrases and hashtags, such as those relating to conspiracy theories and politically violent groups in the US. The rise in the metric is due to an increase in activity in these hashtags following the predicted results of the US presidential election.

    The Facebook employee in the leaked internal post reportedly discussed blocking some of these emerging hashtags, showing that Facebook is aware that these hashtags can contribute to incitement to violence and could block them if needed. Facebook has been criticised recently for its lack of fast response to political and medical misinformation, allowing its platform to become host to a growing number of extremist conspiracy theories.

    Source: BuzzFeed News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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