Shortly after Facebook stepped up efforts to prohibit terrorism-endorsing content, even expanding the notion of terrorism, it’s emerged that their success has been mixed, arguably due to the company’s controversial feature of sucking up random personal details so as to form vast auto-generated databases.
The US Congress will be questioning representatives of social media companies, including Monica Bickert, who deals with extremist messaging at Facebook, after a whistleblower’s complaint that Facebook had inadvertently provided two extremist groups, al-Qaeda and Daesh, with a networking and recruitment tool. The new details come as an update to a complaint handed to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the National Whistleblower Centre intends to file one of these days.
The update obtained by AP identifies almost 200 auto-generated pages – aimed at businesses, schools, etc. – that directly reference Daesh, while others represent al-Qaeda and other known terrorist groups. The filing also indicated that users’ pages promoting extremist groups are easy to find with simple searches using their names: for instance, the accusers uncovered one page for “Mohammed Atta”, a hijacker in the 11 September attacks. The bio lists the user’s employer as “al-Qaeda” and education as “University Master Bin Laden” and “School Terrorist Afghanistan”.
Responding to the matter, a Facebook spokesperson told AP that their priority is…