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Facebook Ramps Up Its Response to Violent Videos

Facebook is stepping up its efforts to keep inappropriate and often violent material — including recent high-profile videos of murders and suicides, hate speech and extremist propaganda — off of its site.

On Wednesday, the world’s biggest social network said it plans to hire 3,000 more people to review videos and other posts after getting criticized for not responding quickly enough to murders shown on its service.

The hires over the next year will be on top of the 4,500 people Facebook already tasks with identifying criminal and other questionable material for removal. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Wednesday that the company is “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.”

Facebook, which had 18,770 employees at the end of March, would not say if the new hires would be contractors or full-time workers. David Fischer, the head of Facebook’s advertising business, said in an interview that the detection and removal of hate speech and content that promotes violence or terrorism is an “ongoing priority” for the company, and the community operations teams are a “continued investment.”

Videos and posts that glorify violence are against Facebook’s rules, but Facebook has drawn criticism for responding slowly to such items, including video of a slaying in Cleveland and the live-streamed killing of a baby in Thailand. The Thailand video was up for 24 hours before it was removed.

In most cases, such material gets reviewed for possible removal only if users complain. News reports and posts that condemn violence are allowed. This makes for a tricky balancing act for the company. Facebook does not want to act as a censor, as videos of violence, such as those documenting police brutality or the horrors of war, can…

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