Facebook Cracks Down on Weed Sales with AI Technology

Facebook is using AI technology to identify pictures of weed.Facebook employees discovered users working around its policy disallowing the sale of recreational drugs but using photos of baked goods such as Rice Krispies Treats.

At the company’s F8 developer conference, CTO Mike Schroepfer showed the audience photos of cannabis and broccoli tempura. He said Facebook built a new algorithm that can detect differences in similar-looking images.

“If someone reports something like this, we can then fan out and look at billions of images in a short period of time and find things that look similar,” he stated.

Facebook uses both AI and humans to combat problems like hate speech, election meddling, and violent content.
“This is an intensely adversarial game,” Schroepfer said. “We build a new technique, we deploy it, people work hard to try to figure out ways around this.”

But as Facebook uses AI to moderate content, it also has to ensure that it’s being fair to all users, as the company has been accused of suppressing legal weed companies.

“We don’t have a silver bullet for this, but the fact that we’re having this conversation is the important thing,” Facebook data scientist Isabel Kloumann told CNET.