Facebook to hire 3,000 workers to help remove inappropriate content
Facebook Inc will hire 3,000 more people over the next year to respond to reports of inappropriate material on the social media network and speed up the removal of videos showing murder, suicide and other violent acts, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.
The hiring spree is an acknowledgment by Facebook that, at least for now, it needs more than automated software to improve monitoring of posts. Facebook Live, a service that allows any user to broadcast live, has been marred since its launch last year by instances of people streaming violence.
Zuckerberg, the company’s co-founder, said in a Facebook post the workers will be in addition to the 4,500 people who already review posts that may violate its terms of service.
Last week, a father in Thailand broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live, police said. After more than a day, and 370,000 views, Facebook removed the video. Other videos from places such as Chicago and Cleveland have also shocked viewers with their violence.
Zuckerberg said: “We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”
The 3,000 workers will be new positions and will monitor all Facebook content, not just live videos, the company said. The company did not say where the jobs would be located.
Facebook is due to report quarterly revenue and earnings later on Wednesday after markets close in New York.
The world’s largest social network, with 1.9 billion monthly users, has been turning to artificial intelligence to try to automate the process of finding pornography, violence and other potentially offensive material. In March, the company said it planned to use such technology to help spot users with suicidal tendencies and get them assistance.
However, Facebook still relies largely on its users to report problematic material. It receives millions of reports from users each week, and like other large Silicon Valley companies, it relies on thousands of human monitors to review the reports.
“Despite industry claims to the contrary, I don’t know of any computational mechanism that can adequately, accurately, 100 percent do this work in lieu of humans. We’re just not there yet technologically,” said Sarah Roberts, a professor of information studies at UCLA who looks at content monitoring.
The workers who monitor material generally work on contract in places such as India and the Philippines, and they face difficult working conditions because of the hours they spend making quick decisions while sifting through traumatic material, Roberts said in an interview.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Rigby)
users, an 18 percent increase from a year ago. 1.28 billion people use the service daily, making up 66 percent of the monthly count.
“We had a good start to 2017,” said company chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. “We’re continuing to build tools to support a strong global community.”
There are approximately 7.3 billion people in the world, and now nearly 27 percent of them are using Facebook. It took the company eight years to hit 1 billion monthly users, but now it appears it’ll take five to get to 2 billion.
Above: Facebook’s monthly active users, as of Q1 2017.Image Credit: Facebook
As for the average revenue per user (ARPU), Facebook saw a year-over-year increase from $3.32 in Q1 2016 to $4.23 in Q1 2017.
Facebook has had quite a busy quarter, launching a bevy of features and apps to incentivize users to either keep coming back or signing up for an account. Among its touted accomplishments includes a dedicated TV app to stream videos, a new tool enabling people to help one another following a disaster, adding support for job listings on Pages, bringing Snapchat Stories to more apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and the social network, generally releasing the first product featuring its M artificial intelligent assistant, acknowledging the impact of fake news shared on the social network, even contributing to a $14 million fund to aide in news integrity, and let’s not forget the slew of announcements that emerged from the company’s F8 developer conference last month.
The previous quarter was also marked by Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000-word letter that’s a manifesto for why we need communities and globalism, bucking sentiment from some world leaders and further sowing seeds about the Facebook chief’s potential presidential run in the future (he has denied it).
As Facebook moves forward, it’s in search of ways to overcome new issues around its rapid growth such as diversity problems, properly tracking ad performance, and what to do about its Facebook Live problem. Zuckerberg has acknowledged that his company has to do more to combat the seemingly frequent livestreams of people killing others or themselves — earlier today, Facebook revealed it would hire 3,000 more people to review videos for murders or suicides — a not-so-easy job, to say the least.
Shares in the company were down 0.64 percent to close at $151.80. In after-hours trading, the stock was down more than 1 percent.