Facebook is using AI to curb exploitative and naked images of kids

The social network removed 8.7 million pieces of content that fell into this category from July to September.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read

Facebook is tapping AI to fight child exploitation.

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Child exploitation continues to be a problem on social media.

Facebook is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively detect child nudity and exploitative content when it's uploaded, the company said Wednesday in a post detailing its related efforts. This comes on top of technology like photo matching, which Facebook says it's been using for years to stop the sharing of known child exploitation images.

From July to September, Facebook removed 8.7 million pieces of content from its platform that violated its child nudity or sexual exploitation of children policies, including nonsexual content like a photo of a child in the bath. The company also said it removes accounts that promote this type of content.

Facebook has an age requirement of 13 and up and it limits who teens can interact with after they sign up. By using AI, the company can identify exploitative content more quickly, report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and find users who might have engaged in inappropriate interactions with children on Facebook.

However, moderating content isn't always easy. In August, Facebook got in trouble after removing a photo that showed naked, emaciated children from a Nazi concentration camp. In 2016, the social network pulled down a story with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack.

Next month, Facebook said it'll begin building tools for smaller companies to prevent child exploitation with Microsoft and other industry partners. 

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