Facebook and Instagram using AI to detect drug traffickers


Facebook and Instagram are beginning to detect traffickers trying to sell on social networks with the help of artificial intelligence.

Proactive detection technology will be used on both platforms to look for signs that someone is trying to sell drugs such as pictures along with prices, phone numbers or usernames for other social media accounts.

"By capturing more posts automatically, this technology allows our team to use their expertise to investigate accounts, pages, groups, and hashtags, as well as work with experts to pinpoint upcoming trends," said Kevin Martin, vice president of public policy in the US at Facebook, he said.

We want to make the vital resources for treatment easier to find

The measure is part of a joint venture between Facebook, Google and Twitter, called Tech Together to Fight the Opioid Crisis, which aims to help people struggling against addiction in the United States amid a growing opioid crisis.

The University of Alabama's Computer Forensics Research Lab is working with companies to flag content and improve their understanding of the tactics used by bad actors to hide their activities, such as new street names for drugs.

(Yui Mok / PA)

"We want to make the vital resources for treatment easier to find," continued Martin.

"When people search for opiate information on Facebook and Instagram, we direct them to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Help Line Information Page and other resources for free and confidential treatment and education.

"Together with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, we've made their helpline accessible in Messenger, helping them connect with more than a thousand needy families this year."

– Press Association


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