Face­book live raises big Ques­tions

Technowize Magazine - - Haute Money -

On Easter, 37-year-old Steve Stephens drove around Glenville, Cleve­land on what he said was an “Easter Sun­day slaugh­ter,” and soon he had gar­nered an au­di­ence of mil­lions for shoot­ing of Robert God­win Sr., 74 which he had livestreamed on Face­book. In a series of tur­bu­lent Face­book posts, Stephen also claimed he had mur­dered fourteen ran­dom strangers.

De­spite the in­ci­dent oc­cur­ring on Sun­day, April 16, the public did not hear from Face­book CEO Mark zucker­berg un­til Tues­day. when he did, he went with a cur­sory men­tion dur­ing a speech at Face­book’s an­nual de­vel­oper con­fer­ence.

“we have a lot more to do here. And we’re re­minded of that this week by the tragedy in Cleve­land. And our hearts go out to the fam­ily and friends of Robert God­win Sr. And we have a lot of work and we will keep do­ing all we can to pre­vent tragedies like this from hap­pen­ing,” zucker­berg said.

The main is­sue peo­ple have with Face­book’s in­volve­ment in this in­ci­dent is that it took two hours to take down the ne­far­i­ous footage. The vic­tim’s grand­son, Ryan God­win, begged peo­ple to stop shar­ing the footage writ­ing on Twit­ter, “That is my grand­fa­ther show some re­spect.”

Face­book is cur­rently test­ing out mul­ti­ple ways to fil­ter out vi­o­lent ma­te­rial – in­clud­ing AI tech­nol­ogy. It is un­clear if ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence played a role in flagging Stephen’s footage.

In­ci­dents in which peo­ple com­mit vi­o­lent crimes and post them on Face­book are grow­ing at an un­prece­dented fre­quency. Men­tal health ex­perts warn livestreams risk de­sen­si­tiz­ing the public and copy­cat vi­o­lence.

There are le­gions of hu­man Face­book mod­er­a­tors hunt­ing for pornog­ra­phy, gore, sex­ual solic­i­ta­tion, mi­nors, sex­ual images, racism, hate­ful taunts, and bru­tal vi­o­lence. Users re­port the of­fen­sive ma­te­rial to Face­book mod­er­a­tors, who then de­cide whether to re­move the con­tent or dis­able the user’s ac­count.

Justin Osof­sky, vice pres­i­dent of global op­er­a­tions and me­dia part­ner­ships at Face­book, said the com­pany dis­abled Stephens’ ac­count within 23 min­utes of re­ceiv­ing the first re­port about a mur­der video and two hours af­ter re­ceiv­ing a re­port of any kind.

Face­book opened its Live fea­ture to the public last year and has since been push­ing its 2 bil­lion users to try out the new fea­ture with ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns and fea­tur­ing livestreams in users’ news feeds. It’s har­row­ing to un­der­stand why Face­book was so un­pre­pared for the con­se­quences of the push. Last July, the death of Phi­lando Castila, a Min­nesota man fa­tally shot by the po­lice dur­ing a traf­fic stop in the suburbs of St. Paul, was broad­cast by his girl­friend live across Face­book. The video has been la­beled as graphic and vi­o­lent did not cap­ture the shoot­ing it­self, how­ever, it re­mains ac­ces­si­ble on Face­book. In Jan­uary, three men in Swe­den were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of rap­ing a woman and stream­ing the as­sault live to a pri­vate Face­book group. Sadly, no one called the po­lice. In Fe­bru­ary, two ra­dio jour­nal­ist in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic were fa­tally shot dur­ing a Face­book Live broad­cast.

For now, the com­pany re­lies on hu­man mod­er­a­tors and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to re­move of­fen­sive or harm­ful con­tent. This ap­proach raises quite a few con­cerns - for in­stance, last year, a Face­book mod­er­a­tor took down an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-win­ning photo from the Viet­nam war de­pict­ing a naked girl run­ning from a na­palm strike. Face­book re­stored the photo af­ter fac­ing crit­i­cism. The prob­lem is,

ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence would in­evitably make mis­takes. The com­pany would be accused of cen­sor­ship if the al­go­rithm wrongly deleted pho­tos and videos. This ex­plains why Face­book takes an un­rea­son­able amount of time to de­ter­mine if it should delete a video. Even­tu­ally, though, AI will work along­side hu­man mod­er­a­tors, to ef­fec­tively iden­tify of­fen­sive con­tent.

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