January 27, 2021

Facebook is removing flyers promoting more violence from its services


Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019.

Erin Scott | Reuters

Facebook on Wednesday said it is aware that calls for violence “have been high” since the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Specifically, the company has identified flyers that are being shared elsewhere on the internet by people who are calling for rallies and protests against the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The flyers are for events scheduled in the coming days.

Facebook is “fingerprinting” the flyers so that they can quickly be removed from Facebook, Instagram and Messenger anytime a users tries to share them, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC.

“We’ve identified flyers shared from other sites, calling for people to rally/protest against the election results and banked them (taken a digital fingerprint of them) so that if people attempt to share them on our platform, we can quickly detect and remove them,” the spokeswoman said in an email.

Facebook was made aware of these flyers by its partners that it works “with to understand how groups and organizations we’ve banned from our platform are continuing their activity online.” These partners include Flashpoint, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the SITE Intelligence Group and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Computer Forensics Research Lab, the company said.

In addition to removing these flyers, Facebook is also removing any content from its services that “praises, supports or represents the event that could encourage future violence.”

Reuters first reported Facebook’s efforts to remove these flyers from its services.



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