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Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook AI Will Curb Hate Speech In 5 To 10 Years (inverse.com) 471

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: After a question from Senator John Thune (R-SD) about why the public should believe that Facebook was earnestly working towards improving privacy, Zuckerberg essentially responded by saying that things are different now. Zuckerberg said that the platform is going through a "broad philosophical shift in how we approach our responsibility as a company." "We need to now take a more proactive view at policing the ecosystem," he said. In part, Zuckerberg was talking about hate speech and the various ways his platform has been used to seed misinformation. This prompted Thune to ask what steps Facebook was taking to improve its ability to define what is and what is not hate speech.

"Hate speech is one of the hardest," Zuckerberg said. "Determining if something is hate speech is very linguistically nuanced. You need to understand what is a slur and whether something is hateful, and not just in English..." Zuckerberg said that the company is increasingly developing AI tools to flag hate speech proactively, rather than relying on reactions from users and employees to flag offensive content. But according to the CEO, because flagging hate speech is so complex, he estimates it could take five to 10 years to create adequate A.I. "Today we're just not there on that," he said. For now, Zuckerberg said, it's still on users to flag offensive content. "We have people look at it, we have policies to try and make it as not subjective as possible, but until we get it more automated there is a higher error rate than I'm happy with," he said.

Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook AI Will Curb Hate Speech In 5 To 10 Years

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  • Hate Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:46PM (#56415313)

    Why is there such an emphasis on this as opposed to any other type of "bad" speech? What makes hate speech inherently worse than offensive, but non-hateful speech, and how do you know if I hate you or not?

    • Re:Hate Speech (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:06PM (#56415417)

      It won't. I've seen video games ban the word "jew" simply because somebody decided that a word filter was needed because the word is often used pejoratively. I found out recently I'm 2% Ashkenazi jew, and I wouldn't be surprised if some AI caught the word "nazi jew" out of that. Worse, is that hate speech is a constantly evolving thing, and the words and double-speak deliberately change on a routine basis. This is why hate speech rules are so fucking stupid: Since they're going after a constantly moving target, it's impossible to legislate or filter without making deliberately vague rules, and you can easily break said rules without realizing it at all. And how can you be expected to know that something is illegal when there isn't even a written law against it?

      This gives the government plenty of room to get away with abuse. If you don't already have a reason to arrest somebody, you can just create one on the spot. The UK already does this.

      • by Z80a ( 971949 )

        "hey bro, some idiot called me a n*gger other day, can you believe that?"
        (something you can't even post at full on slashdot)

      • " But according to the CEO, because flagging hate speech is so complex, he estimates it could take five to 10 years to create adequate A.I.

        This is either a Bill Gates "640k is all you will ever need" moment or this is trotted out there to make predictive analytics seem like they are far away in the future. A team of two could probably flag hate speech at Facebook with a few days work--if you are naive enough to think they don't already have models running in production.

      • it's Facebook, a private company. And I suspect the filters of one of the largest and most sophisticated data mining apparatuses out there would be a damn sight better than what you've previously experienced.

        If you want a good idea of why hate speech is a bad thing go read Bruce Sterling's Distraction [amazon.com]. Or just consider that old quote about a meddlesome priest. [wikipedia.org] The right words delivered to the right nut job can do scary things. I don't blame Facebook for not wanting to be a party to that.
      • I found out recently I'm 2% Ashkenazi jew, and I wouldn't be surprised if some AI caught the word "nazi jew" out of that.

        Does that mean Scunthorpe is going to be purged from the internet?

    • Re:Hate Speech (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:21PM (#56415469)

      This might be termed politically desanctioned speech (politically incorrect speech being the sloppy cousin) where you are not protected by free speech laws, but originally, hate speech was a exacerbating condition that made "hate crimes" worse. It was not a thing unto itself. Of course, it has morphed into a thing by itself because no one remembers the original purpose. For example, vandalism is a crime, but not necessarily a hate crime. What makes it a hate crime, worse than a regular instance of vandalism is "hate speech" or the motive behind the crime. The Supreme Court has ruled this is not protected by the first amendment because you lose your first amendment protections by committing the underlying crime. This was a dubious ruling, but hasn't been revisited. Of course, it's hard to commit vandalism online unless you are a hacker, but easy to invoke "hate speech", so everyone wants that policed despite there being no underlying crime. Of course, you aren't protected by the first amendment because the courts have not ruled that FB or Google hangouts or whatever are "places of public accommodation". The ACLU used to fight for expansion of the definition of public accommodation, and FB would probably fit the bill, but they have taken it upon themselves to police "hate speech" instead. Of course, politicians would love all this to be policed so they can pressure FB and Google to stamp out political speech they don't like either, and advertisers would love it stamped out so they can't be tagged with boycotts and the like, but if malls have to put up with free speech, then FB probably should too.

      • Banning "hate speech" is censorship. PERIOD.

        If anyone (general public) can join the website then it should be classified as "public space" and the 1st amendment should take precedent.

        But, no, let's target some bullshit inanimate object, "hate speech", in a knee-jerk reaction to the symptom instead of treating the cause.

        • If anyone (general public) can join the website then it should be classified as "public space"

          Why 'should' it? The courts have ruled, repeatedly, that private property is private even when open to the public. Protestors have been asked to leave public malls because the mall is privately owned. You want the constitution to apply to the right to speech, but want the rights of private property to be weakened. Interesting position.

          Banning "hate speech" is censorship.

          Yes. It is. Where do you stand on libel, slander, false advertising, false listing of ingredients in food, perjury, etc.?

    • God Damn I hate f#!@%! hate speech!

      Did I get it right?

    • by radja ( 58949 )

      there are worse things (at least according to facebook): Nudity

  • Problematic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koby77 ( 992785 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:48PM (#56415323)
    If humans can't even decide what is "hate speech", what makes anyone believe that an AI system can?
    • Don't worry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:59PM (#56415375) Homepage

      The Democrats and the SJW's have already decided what they consider hate speech.

    • More Problematic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:12PM (#56415429) Journal
      It's even more problematic than that. If they have an AI algorithm which can understand human language they have the ability to filter out anything they do not like, not just hate speech and to misquote Agent Smith from the Matrix: "what good is the right to free speech if you are unable to speak?".
    • If humans can't even decide what is "hate speech", what makes anyone believe that an AI system can?

      Rule #1:
      If an opinion or alleged statement of fact, written, spoken, or otherwise transmitted, questions the utility, morality, practicality, or motives of using AI to monitor, judge, and punish "Hate Speech", it shall be deemed to be de facto "Hate Speech".

      Rule #2:
      Any dispute or ambiguity shall be resolved using Rule #1.

    • I greatly look forward to the World Neural Hate Net being trained to label all non-Nazi speech as hate speech. Any image posted without a swastika? Banned globally.

    • Ah but they can and they have. If you disagree, you shall be destroyed.
    • If humans can't even decide what is "hate speech", what makes anyone believe that an AI system can?

      Humans are single subjective. AI is trained on multiple humans. The point here is that an AI won't create a definition that will agree with everyone, it's that it will create a definition by majority i.e. a socially acceptable one if it is trained well enough.

      AI isn't subjective, it analyses based on rules it defines based on the input it is given. That's the problem with the current model, two people will nearly always disagree.

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:50PM (#56415329)

    Leaving aside for a moment the crap headline that implies the opposite of what Zuckerberg actually said, the key point here is the claim that something changed at Facebook to enable it to police itself effectively. A bit late for that now. Do business like a monopoly, get regulated like a monopoly. [nbcnews.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:51PM (#56415335)

    They're already doing a pretty good job of censoring conservative beliefs. Most of my conservative friends on Facebook have had their account disabled for time-out periods or even outright banned. They're doing a good job already.

    They do have some automation. I saw a friend post a Pepe picture, and he was banned immediately for that hateful act.

    • by jimtheowl ( 4200185 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:04PM (#56415413)
      ".. my conservative friends on Facebook.."

      It is amazing what passes as a "conservative" these days.
    • Conservatives, by definition, resist change and support the maintenance of the status quo.

      They are the least likely to recognise the changes to society that increasingly ubiquitous communication brings and to modify their behaviour accordingly. Painting with a very broad brush, even if they do recognise the external changes, they are more likely to resist or resent any requirement to change their own behaviour.

      I would expect more conservatives to be moderated (banned, cautioned, censored etc.) _by_definitio

      • So if a liberal resists changing the liberal status quo (one example: affirmative action) that makes the liberal a conservative?
        • To the extent that someone supports the status quo and resists change to it, their behaviour is conservative.

          How you label them and whatever you mean by 'liberal status quo' sounds more like a problem with labels and definitions than a paradox or contradiction.

      • 1.

        Conservatives, by definition, resist change and support the maintenance of the status quo.

        Americans (US) have created stupid labels like Conservatives, Liberals, Greens, even Republicans unrelated to the idea of a republic and Democrats unrelated to the idea of democracy. When they use these words, it means nothing logical. The definition you have supplied is logical, hence not applicable in American discourse.

        2.

        I would expect more conservatives to be moderated (banned, cautioned, censored etc.) _by_definition_.

        How does this definition lead to an expectation of conservatives being moderated ? If you are saying more people are more likely in general to disagree with status-quo-ism - I don't

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday April 11, 2018 @06:24AM (#56416961) Homepage Journal

      Facebook, like Slashdot and Twitter, doesn't apply the same standard to everyone.

      If you register a new account on Slashdot, your karma starts out low. You can post less often and don't get any karma bonus until you have built up your account a bit. Similarly on Twitter, brand new accounts that get immediately reported are often deleted without further warning, because they have a big problem with bots and people register new accounts to get around bans.

      Facebook is similar. Once your account is established it gets more leeway. But once it has a number of "strikes" against it, posting something like a Pepe meme can get it banned rather than just warned. Pepe memes are mostly racist, particularly anti-Semitic, and associated with Nazism. The idea was to trick people by exchanging the easily recognizable swastikas for a cartoon frog, so Facebook tends to go easy on first time offenders, but after a pattern emerges they become less tolerant.

      Note that I'm not defending Facebook, merely explaining this behaviour which seems to confuse a lot of people (like the infamous "I hate black people" tweet).

  • This has got to be the funniest thing Zuckerberg has ever said.

    Hopefully Facebook won't even exist by that time anyway.

  • Because the exact opposite [theverge.com] happened to microsofts AI in less than 24 hours on twitter. I'm not sure forcing an "AI" algorithm to stare into the forsaken gaping abyss of human social media is really going to end well.
  • Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nowwith25percentmorefree ( 5176963 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:54PM (#56415357)
    Correction: "Facebook AI will curb free speech"
    • if the government isn't the one cracking down. As always, you have a right to say whatever you want. You don't have a right to make somebody pay for the megaphone.

      That said, if you want free Megaphones how about making the Internet a free public utility?
      • It absolutely is a free speech issue. What it's not is a 1st Amendment issue. But it's rapidly becoming one, even though we're talking about private entities. The government threatens ruinous investigations, forcing self-censorship (following the news this week?), that's a valid 1A issue.
  • censorship! (Score:2, Insightful)

    Alive and well. Snowflakes have started started down a slippery fucking slope here. Life and society isn't all kumbaya, rainbows and unicorns. Pussies.
  • by yuriklastalov ( 4536597 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @07:58PM (#56415373)

    Oh look, a real world example of powerful entities planning to use AI systems for evil!

    But go ahead, mock the AI skeptics with Skynet and Matrix strawmen.

    We always seem to find ourselves in these little quandaries in our reckless pursuit of scientific development and apparently no one seems to think it's a problem. We can pass righteous judgement on the Soviets for their utterly insane development of nuclear technologies but then pat ourselves on the back for the latest social media spy tech disguised as a consumer product.

  • by MerlinTheWizard ( 824941 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:00PM (#56415381)
    Non-biased AI might do that actually. It should not take long for a decent AI system to figure out how Facebook is a huge waste of time and energy, and flag it undesirable.
  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:01PM (#56415387)

    Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook AI Will Curb Hate Speech In 5 To 10 Years

    What Zuckerberg will likely be "curbing" and what Facebook tends to ban:

    - claims that racism is not the primary cause of poverty and criminality in minority communities
    - pointing out that gender is not a social construct
    - using a non-preferred pronoun with a transgendered person
    - rude or critical statements about Hillary Clinton (if you use the words she/her, it's automatically misogynist hate speech)
    - speech critical of illegal immigrants or advocating the expulsion of illegal immigrants
    - speech critical or disapproving of Islam
    - anything containing derogatory words for progressive protected classes (but not derogatory words for straight white males)

    Of course, the net effect will be that Facebook turns even more into a progressive bubble. And while that may be comforting to progressives, it makes it hard for them to understand why their favorite political candidates or policies don't catch on among Americans in general.

    • progressive or otherwise. If their user #s are to be believed just about everybody in the country with internet access has an account. If it's a bubble we're all in it.

      Nor is there any evidence that Facebook or anyone else is cracking down on any of the things you've sighted. Most of the beliefs you're post outlined and/or represent belong to the right wing, and last I check the right wing party is in control of all branches of the government. It's kind of silly to play the victim card when your side lit
      • progressive or otherwise. If their user #s are to be believed just about everybody in the country with internet access has an account. If it's a bubble we're all in it.

        I have an account; that doesn't mean I do anything more than check my messages on Facebook every few weeks. I'm pretty typical there among the people I know.

        Most of the beliefs you're post outlined and/or represent belong to the right wing,

        I didn't post any "beliefs". I identified categories of statements that likely get you censored on Faceb

    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      That's a very limited translation you made. Slashdot may have a clear US-centric audience, but Facebook has more than 1 billion users all over the world. If all US Conservatives feeling slighted by the items on your list were on FB (I mean ALL of them), they'd still be a small part of this total.
      Your ideas of what is a "progressive bubble" is and of what are the main issues that drive a wedge between "progressive" and "conservative" are really too US-Centric to be the real guidelines for FB.

      Just take a look

  • by DeplorableCodeMonkey ( 4828467 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @08:01PM (#56415389)

    They'll just follow the usual SJW rule which is "group X is incapable of $type_of_bigotry because they don't have 'power.'" See, if a black man grabs a white man and beats him to death screaming direct racial epithets along the way, that's not racist to them because the black man is a minority thus has no power, thus cannot be racist. Meanwhile, if a white guy from a trailer park, on SS disability screams "die n----" and shoots a super-rich black man that is totally racist because as a white man the trailer park denizen has white privilege.

    This is why if actual Communists ever, God forbid, take power, I will have absolutely no sympathy for many of our kulaks (historically, "liberals" and "progressives" were about as hated by actual Communists as monarchists).

  • Why is it congress business whether or not facebook is regulating hate speech? Facebook shouldnt be told what it needs to do in that regard. Government has no right to tell facebook whether it should or shouldnâ(TM)t prevent hate speech. Eventually givernment will force facebook to only put pro-government stuff everything else will be declared fake!

    • The fallacy is that you fail to consider OTHER government's (and Columbia Analytica) contamination of the social media platform(s ... all).

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > The fallacy is that you fail to consider OTHER government's (and Columbia Analytica) contamination of the social media platform(s ... all).

        It's a global network. Everyone is allowed to play.

        If you really think that some underfunded Russians can really do better than the Koch Brothers or Bloomberg, or the entire liberal media and Hollywood then you really have a low opinion of America.

        It's much like our surface navies facing off.

        • It's a global network. Everyone is allowed to play.

          WAS allowed to. That's the fucking point of the investigation.

          If you really think ...

          Doesn't matter what I think. The facts speak for themselves.

          It's much like our surface navies facing off.

          It's not like that at all.

          • What facts? Clinton basically became being less popular than cancer by the time the public remembered hearing her talk. She lost to a black dude with a Muslim sounding name and then had to rig a primary to beat an angry, disheveled Jew. The fact is that Clinton was basically the worst choice for a candidate, and she made many horrible decisions, allowing her to lose the right parts of the country to bungling orange moron.
    • Congress makes the laws, you will learn that in middle school.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      States had laws on inviting people into open private areas and allowing some political speech and not others.
      A neutral public forum.
      What was selective enforcement.
  • ... down the road.

  • Shut down FaceBook severs until the zuc-up solves it.
  • I hate to hear Zuckerberg speak, does that count ?

  • I'm done with being a regular user of the FB echo chamber. That Musk Vimeo was great and finally convinced me to end my daily, no constant, connection to FB. I left a pub note for people to just call or SMS text me from now on (didn't post my actual number, derr) and that I'd log on occasionally to check new FR. I will say the one thing I've always liked about FB is how way-back contacts can re-connect. I guess that may only be an issue for those older than millennials.

    The entire thing is now an https://en.

  • Highly doubt Facebook will be around in 5-10 years. If planetary years were internet years it would be like saying that Earth will be around in a few million, billion, gazillion years.

    I give even odds that Facebook will begin collapsing by the end of 2018 and be on par with CNN for political/cultural relevancy by 2020. (Nearly none)

  • Oh Zuckyboy there is right on the money, though he's short-changing himself by a few years. I don't think Facebook is even going to be a thing for a heck of a lot longer. This is a mortal wound. I don't see a scenario that has Facebook looking pretty in a few years time. So yeah, hate speech gunna be gone from Facebook, cuz Facebook will be gone.

    Good riddance. Twitter next please.

  • by bricko ( 1052210 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2018 @10:03PM (#56415857)
    Apparently many have missed to recent Supreme Court decision - There is no such thing as hate speech https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]
  • Facebook will cure 2018 hate speech in 2023 or 2028. If the planet still exists in 2028.

    Somehow, I don't think Zuck factored into his estimate that arms races are two-way streets.

    And another factor: in Arab cultures, young men sexualize extremely minor details of women's behaviours and dress. As the loudness declines, the gain increases.

    Nevertheless, Facebook will declare this an objective victory. Meanwhile, hate will persist on a cholesterol-reduced diet with fewer words identified by a single letter, an

  • Just to think, we get hate speech eliminating AI and cold fusion in the same year!

  • and produce utopia within 25.

    Right?

  • StoryLine : Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook AI Will Curb Hate Speech In 5 To 10 Years.

    Reality : Facebook will have been replaced by another Free Speech App within 5 to 10 Years.

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