Facebook and Instagram are using AI to detect drug dealers

After joining Google and Twitter in a new initiative to tackle the opioid crisis, Facebook and Instagram have announced they are using AI to identify and remove drug-related images

14Nov

Facebook and Instagram have announced they are going to start using AI to identify drug dealers operating on their sites. The social media giants have stated they will now be using "proactive detection" technology to take down drug-related images before they have been seen or reported by users.

"Our technology is able to detect content that includes images of drugs and depicts the intent to sell with information such as price, phone numbers or usernames for other social media accounts," said Kevin Martin, head of US public policy at Facebook.

He added that, by utilizing AI technology, human moderators are able to use their time to instead look at pages, groups and hashtags which are potentially linked to drug use as well as analyzing trends.


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Facebook's announcement follows the news that it is teaming up with Google and Twitter to help battle the opioid crisis after the three tech giants formed a coalition, Tech Together to Fight the Opioid Crisis. The group's goal is to share best practices and collaborate on methods of addressing drug addiction.

The group met together for the first time on November 13. Martin said that they were joined by "experts and organizations working on prevention, treatment and recovery to discuss steps we're taking to combat this epidemic".

The US is in the throes of an opioid crisis, with more than two million citizens dependent on or abusing pain pills and street drugs, 72,000 people died from overdose in 2017 according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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