SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has been under pressure for its failure to remove violence, nudity, hate speech and other inflammatory content from its site. Government officials, activists and academics have long pushed the social network to disclose more about how it deals with such posts.
Now, Facebook is pulling back the curtain on those efforts — but only so far.
On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley company published numbers for the first time detailing how much and what type of content it takes down from the social network. In an 86-page report, Facebook revealed that it deleted 865.8 million posts in the first quarter of 2018, the vast majority of which were spam, with a minority of posts related to nudity, graphic violence, hate speech and terrorism.
Facebook also said it removed 583 million fake accounts in the same period. Of the accounts that remained, the company said 3 percent to 4 percent were fake.
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, said the company had substantially increased its efforts over the past 18 months to flag and remove inappropriate content. The inaugural report was intended to “help our teams understand what is happening” on the site, he said. Facebook hopes to continue publishing reports about its content removal every six months or so.
Yet the figures the company published were limited. Facebook declined to provide examples of graphically violent posts or hate speech that it removed, for example. The social network said it had taken down more posts from its site in the first three months of 2018 than it had during the last quarter of 2017, but it gave no specific figures from previous years, making it hard to assess how much it had stepped up its efforts.
The report also did not include all the posts that Facebook had removed. After publication of this article, a Facebook spokeswoman said other types of content had been taken down from the site in the first quarter because they violated community standards, but those were not detailed in the report because the company was still developing metrics to study them.
Congress last week released more than 3,000 Facebook ads linked to Russia around the 2016 presidential election, the most comprehensive look at the misinformation campaign mounted on the social network.
Facebook also used the new report to advance a push around artificial intelligence to root out inappropriate posts. Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has long highlighted A.I. as the main solution to helping the company sift through the billions of pieces of content that users put on its site every day, even though critics have asked why the social network cannot hire more people to do the job.
“If we do our job really well, we can be in a place where every piece of content is flagged by artificial intelligence before our users see it,” said Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president of…
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