Fact sheet

Fact Check: Scott Morrison said hate content on social media could be automatically screened out by algorithms. Is he correct?

Liberal Party of Australia Algorithms Social media Hate crime
The Federal Government has put social media companies on notice after the Christchurch massacre for failing to prevent the shooter's actions being broadcast and promoted online. But can algorithms automatically block hate content, as the Prime Minister claims? Mr Morrison's claim is wishful thinking. YouTube and Facebook already use algorithms to detect hate content which is then reviewed by people. But ensuring such material is removed "at a moment's notice" requires a fully automated approach ' something experts told RMIT ABC Fact Check is not currently possible. Experts also dismissed Mr Morrison's comparison of content-detection systems and targeted advertising, saying the two technologies were completely different. Still, the data social media companies use to target their advertising can be used to identify, if not the content itself, then the people who share it. Companies already do this with banning certain groups ' although, at least in Facebook's case, white nationalists have only been targeted since Christchurch. Experts suggested companies could use methods other than algorithms to prevent harmful content being shared, such as banning, regulating or delaying live streaming.
Verdict: Wishful thinking
Publication Details