Facebook will add 3,000 monitors to screen offensive content
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said Wednesday that it would add 3,000 people to the team that monitors Facebook Live and other aspects of the social media network for inappropriate, offensive, or illegal content.
The move comes after Facebook Live, the company’s popular video-streaming service, has been used recently as a platform to broadcast a series of horrible acts to viewers, including a man boasting about his apparently random killing of a Cleveland man and the murder of an infant in Thailand.
The company has also been criticized for doing a poor job weeding out content that violates its rules, including the sharing of nude photographs of female Marines without their consent and illegal gun sales.
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said the recent episodes were “heartbreaking” and said the new monitors would supplement the 4,500 people it already has on its community operations team.
“If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly,” he wrote. “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.”
Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would make it easier for users and company employees to act on problems they see.
“We’re going to make it simpler to report problems to us, faster for our reviewers to determine which posts violate our standards and easier for them to contact law enforcement if someone needs help,” he said.
The announcement came hours before the company was to report its quarterly financial performance, which has boomed in part because of the popularity of video on the platform.
Even so, Facebook’s main social network is still driving sales growth, even as executives seek to temper investor exuberance about future quarters.
First-quarter revenue beat analysts’ estimates as monthly users jumped to 1.94 billion. With Facebook’s massive audience and its many targeted options for brands to reach those consumers through its social, messaging, and photo-sharing apps, the company has been one of the two main beneficiaries of an uptick in digital ad spending, alongside Google.
Facebook has been saying it will stop increasing the frequency of ads it shows in users’ news feeds later this year, potentially tapping the brakes on the frenzied pace of sales growth. It will take time for the company to prove that other bets, such as its heavy investment in video and other apps such as Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, can start contributing meaningfully to revenue in future quarters.
Facebook in the last few years has depended on its social network — a mobile-advertising machine — to fund investments in other areas, which are much less developed as businesses. The company spun off its Messenger chat tool as a separate app in 2014, and just this year started testing advertising on it, alongside bot functions that let businesses reach consumers. Messenger now has 1.2 billion users. WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased the same year for $22 billion, hasn’t started making money yet.
The company is also pouring money into longer-term businesses and ideas, such as virtual reality goggles and connecting the world to the internet. In a presentation to developers last month, Facebook discussed further-off projects, like using technology to type directly from brain waves and developing a way to feel words.
Facebook’s work with Instagram is seen as proof that it can replicate its main network’s success in advertising on other properties. Instagram, now with 700 million users, has started adding to revenue growth. The company has also benefited as more advertisers purchase video ads.
Material from Bloomberg News has been used in this report.