Facebook’s ‘Suggested Friends’ Feature is Helping Terrorists Network, Study Finds
Facebook’s ‘suggested friends’ feature is helping thousands of extremists and potential terrorists to connect and build new networks, according to a study by the Counter Extremism Project.
The organization studied the social media habits of 1,000 ISIS supporters in 96 countries and found that the extremists were routinely meeting others through the platform.
“Facebook, in their desire to connect as many people as possible have inadvertently created a system which helps connect extremists and terrorists,” Robert Postings, one of the researchers, told The Telegraph.
The feature is meant to connect people with similar interests, and works even if your interest is ISIS. That platform has already been under fire for failing to quickly remove propaganda and material from the terror organization.
“Gregory Waters, one of the authors of the report, described how he was bombarded by suggestions for pro-Isil friends, after making contact with one active extremist on the site,” The Telegram reports.
The researchers found that over the course of six months, less than half of the 1,000 accounts they were monitoring were suspended from the platform.
“The fact that Facebook’s own recommended friends algorithm is directly facilitating the spread of this terrorist group on its site is beyond unacceptable,” Waters said.
A spokesman for Facebook told The Telegram that there is “no place for terrorists on Facebook.”
“Our approach is working – 99 per cent of ISIS and Al Qaeda-related content we remove is found by our automated systems. But there is no easy technical fix to fight online extremism,” the spokesman added.