Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has invested more than $13 billion in safety and security measures since 2016, days after a newspaper reported the company had failed to fix “the platform’s ill effects” researchers had identified.
In comparison to five years ago, the social media giant now employs 40,000 people working on safety and security, up from 10,000.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week, citing an examination of internal company documents, that Facebook downplayed the negative effects of its Instagram app on young people and responded slowly to employee concerns about how the platform is being exploited by human traffickers in developing countries.
“In the past, we didn’t address safety and security challenges early enough in the product development process,” the company said in a blog post; “but we have fundamentally changed that approach”, it added.
In the first half of this year, Facebook said its artificial intelligence technology assisted in the blocking of 3 billion fake accounts. In addition, the company removed over 20 million pieces of false COVID-19 and vaccine content.
According to the company, it now removes 15 times more content that violates its hate speech standards across Facebook and its image-sharing platform Instagram than it did when it first began reporting it in 2017.
Recall that, Facebook’s profit doubled in the most recent quarter as digital advertising soared, but the company warned of slower growth in the months ahead in an update that sent its stock plummeting.
According to Facebook’s second-quarter report, profit increased by 56 per cent to $10.4 billion on revenue of $29 billion, owing primarily to an increase in ad revenues.
The number of people utilizing the social network every month increased by 7% year over year to 2.9 billion. And at least one of the company’s apps, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, was utilized by 3.5 billion people.
“We had a strong quarter as we continue to help businesses grow and people stay connected,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in an earnings release.
However, Facebook’s stock dropped 4% as the company warned that growth would be slow by regulatory actions and a change to Apple’s iPhone operating software that might impair ad targeting.