Facebook gives cameras to Met Police firearms teams to prevent live streaming of terror attacks

Defence and security Technology

Facebook will give the Metropolitan Police cameras for their firearms teams in a bid to stop mass shootings and terror attacks being live-streamed.

Scotland Yard said armed police will wear the company’s cameras during training exercises and the footage will be used by Facebook to develop algorithms to recognise firearms attacks.

The technology will help the tech giant alert police to such attacks earlier and also prevent their live-streaming which can “glorify” such acts.

Facebook was condemned following the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year when a white supremacist live-streamed the attack that killed 56 people and injured more than 40.

The footage stayed on Facebook for several hours after the attack and was viewed 239,924 times.

However, copies of the video from the shooter’s original stream were still being uploaded to other platforms hours after its removal from Facebook.

In a blog, Facebook responded to criticisms of their efforts to spot and remove violent content, explaining: “We did not have enough content depicting first-person footage of violent events to effectively train our machine learning technology.”

‘Happy to help’ prevent attacks

Scotland Yard said it was “happy to help” the technology giant and will supply them from October with footage of their specialist firearms officers training for simulated terrorist attacks and hostage events.

The UK’s senior counter terrorism police officer, assistant commissioner for specialist operations Neil Basu, said: “The technology Facebook is seeking to create could help identify firearms attacks in their early stages and potentially assist police across the world in their response to such incidents.

“Technology that automatically stops live-streaming of attacks once identified would also significantly help prevent the glorification of such acts and the promotion of the toxic ideologies that drive them.

“We welcome such efforts to prevent terrorism and its glorification and are happy to help develop this technology.”

FB: ‘We can’t do it alone’

Stephanie McCourt, head of Facebook’s UK law enforcement outreach work, said: ““We invest heavily in people and technology to keep people safe on our platforms. But we can’t do it alone.”

She added: “This partnership with the Met Police will train our AI systems with the volume of data needed to identify these incidents. And we will remain committed to improving our detection abilities and keeping harmful content off Facebook.”

The Home Office will share the firearms footage with other technology companies working to develop software that detects live broadcasting of mass shootings on social media.



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