Facebook is working with the Metropolitan police to improve the social network’s ability to detect live streaming of terrorism and potentially alert officers about an attack sooner.
The tech company will provide officers at the Met’s firearms training centres with body cameras, in an effort to help its artificial intelligence more accurately and rapidly identify videos of real-life first person shooter incidents.
Facebook came under fire for the spread of a live stream video showing the New Zealand mosque shootings in March, which left 51 dead. The video was viewed fewer than 200 times during its live broadcast and was watched about 4,000 times in total before being removed.
Facebook relies on AI to spot violating content and remove it as quickly as possible. In the case of the Christchurch terrorist attack, it says it simply did not have enough first-person footage of violent events for the system to match it up against. It has approached the Met to increase the number of images needed to train its machine learning tools.
The global effort is part of a wider clampdown on real-world harm from manifesting on social media, with the Home Office sharing the footage with other technology companies to develop similar solutions.
“The technology Facebook is seeking to create could help identify firearms attacks in their early stages and potentially assist police across the world in their response to such incidents,” said Neil Basu, the assistant commissioner for specialist operations.
“Technology that automatically stops live streaming of attacks once identified, would also significantly help prevent the glorification of such acts and the promotion of the toxic ideologies that drive them. We welcome such efforts to prevent terrorism and its glorification and are happy to help develop this technology.”
The social network said it would also help it avoid incorrectly detecting other types of footage such as fictional content from movies or video games.
The project – which also includes Instagram – will begin from October with the Met’s firearms command, who regularly train in how to respond to incidents from terrorism to hostage situations.
Facebook says it has banned more than 200 white supremacist organisations from its platform, as well as removing more than 26m pieces of content in the past two years related to global terrorist groups such as Isis and al-Qaida.
However, the company saidit must stay ahead of bad actors who would continue to try new tactics.
“Facebook’s work tackling threats from terrorism and extremism never stops,” said Stephanie McCourt, the law enforcement outreach lead for Facebook’s UK operations.
“We invest heavily in people and technology to keep people safe on our platforms. But we can’t do it alone. This partnership with the Met police will help train our AI systems with the volume of data needed to identify these incidents. And we will remain committed to improving our detection abilities and keeping harmful content off Facebook.”
In May, the social network, along with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, agreed on a nine-point plan of action following a meeting with world leaders and tech firms in Paris called the Christchurch Call to Action.