Mark Zuckerberg On Facebook’s Involvement In The Capitol Riots And Using AI To Stop Hate Speech

Mark Zuckerberg On Facebook’s Involvement In The Capitol Riots And Using AI To Stop Hate Speech
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has deflected blame about the Capitol Riots earlier this year, telling a congress hearing former President Donald Trump was the instigator.

During the hearings, which are also set to see Google boss Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey grilled, Zuckerberg was taken to task over Facebook’s involvement in the riots, with Republican congressman Mike Doyle suggesting the platform was used for “recruitment, planning and execution of the attack”.

In response, Zuckerberg denied Facebook’s involvement.

“I think the responsibility lies with the people who took the actions to break the law and do the insurrection,” he said.

“Secondarily, also with the people who spread that content, including the president but others as well, with repeated rhetoric over time, saying that the election was rigged and encouraging people to organize, I think that those people bear the primary responsibility as well.”

Zuckerberg was also quizzed on the use of Facebook groups to coordinate the ‘Stop The Steal’ movement.

Here, Zuckerberg did acknowledge Facebook was used by the attackers and said the company is looking at ways to improve content moderation in the future.

“Certainly there was content on our services,” he said. “And from that perspective, I think that there’s further work we need to do to make our services and moderation more effective.”

Content moderation

On the topic of content moderation, Zuckerberg reminded the hearing that the vast majority of Facebook’s efforts are done via machine learning algorithms, which flag dangerous content.

“More than 95 per cent of the hate speech that we take down is done by an AI and not by a person,” Zuckerberg said during the hearing.

“And I think it’s 98 or 99% of the terrorist content that we take down is identified by an AI and not a person.”

However, this automated approach sometimes misses ‘nuances’ in content, specifically in terms of denouncing hate speech, said Zuckerberg.

“One of the nuances that [Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey] highlighted that we certainly see as well in enforcing hate speech policies is that we need to be clear about when someone is saying something because they’re using it in a hateful way versus when they’re denouncing it,” he said.

This means Facebook cannot simply block words or phrases associated with hate speech.

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