After five months of research a whistleblower says Facebook allows terrorist sympathizers to thrive not only by failing to remove their accounts, but also by auto-creating celebratory videos and pages for terrorist groups.
The National Whistleblowers Center in Washington (NWC) has published a 48-page comprehensive study into how Facebook neglects to curb, and even boosts Al-Qaeda affiliated militants’ outreach, arguing that Facebook’s lack of action facilitates the recruitment of terrorists.
The study, conducted by an unnamed whistleblower from August through December 2018, showed that out of 3,228 accounts belonging to ‘friends’ of self-identified terrorists, only some 30 percent were removed by the platform.
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These “friends” hail from around the world. Those who were singled out for the survey are based in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Among them, “many openly identified as terrorists themselves and shared extremist content,” the executive summary of the report states.
The social media giant, which recently prided itself on taking down 99 percent of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS, formerly SIS/ISIL)-related content before it is reported by users, actually creates such content itself with its auto-generating tools, according to the report.
As an example, it refers to an auto-generated page Facebook “set up” for Al Shabaab militant group, complete with an ISIS logo. Somalia-based Al Shabaab has been long associated with Al-Qaeda. In 2015, a splinter group of its fighters pledged allegiance to IS.
The page came about because some users listed their membership in the terror group as their job occupation, prompting Facebook’s AI to create a “local business” page.
Another popular feature embedded in the Facebook algorithm allows for glorification of terrorism and extremism, the report says, referring to “celebration” and “memories” videos. It turns out that the seemingly innocuous feature makes no distinction between a user sharing a video with, say, birthday celebrations, and violence-filled extremist content. One of such chilling “celebration” videos featuring puddles of blood racked up over 2,000 likes, the report notes. (RT)