Facebook spent the equivalent of 319 years labeling or removing false and misleading content posted in the US in 2020

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Facebook spent the equivalent of 319 years labeling or removing false and misleading content posted in the US in 2020
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
  • Facebook spent 2.8 million hours, or approximately 319 years, looking for false or misleading information on its platforms in the US in 2020.
  • Some content that was missed included gang violence, human trafficking, and drug cartels, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • Some groups that promote hate or violence use fake Facebook and Instagram accounts and Messenger to recruit users.

Facebook spent the equivalent of 319 years labeling or removing false and misleading content posted in the US in 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Employees of the social media company have raised concerns about the spread of harmful and misleading information on its platforms, according to internal documents accessed by the Journal.

The documents detail how employees and contractors of the company spent more than 3.2 million hours in 2020 searching for, labeling, and taking down information that was false or misleading. 2.8 million of those hours, or approximately 319 years, were spent looking for content posted within the US. Facebookspent three times that amount of time on "brand safety," or "making sure ads don't appear alongside content advertisers may find objectionable," according to the Journal.

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The information accessed by the Journal explains details on Facebook's oversights related to issues like gang violence, human trafficking, drug cartels, and the spreading of violent and often deceptive information. A recent study found that posts with misinformation got six times more likes, shares, and interactions on Facebook compared to posts from more reputable news sources.

Some of the largest recruitment tactics these violent groups use include fake Facebook and Instagram accounts and Messenger, according to the documents reviewed by the Journal.

A spokesperson from Facebook told the Journal that the company also plans to look into artificial intelligence that will help them in its efforts against the spread of misinformation or violent content.

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Facebook removed nearly 6.7 million pieces of organized hate content off of its platforms from October through December of 2020. In March, Facebook announced it would stop recommending Groups that have violated Facebook's standards and limit the distribution of the group's content in users' News Feeds, Insider reported. At the same time, Facebook also started telling its users when a Group they are about to join has violated the company's Community Standards. Facebook's standards prohibit violent, harmful, illegal, and deceptive posts from being shared on the site.

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