Meta President Nick Clegg with Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Remote Work and Digital Applications on the second day of the World Government Summit in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Artificial intelligence is helping social media platforms drastically cut down on hate speech, a top official at a tech company said on Tuesday.

Speaking on Day 2 of the World Government Summit in Dubai, Nick Clegg, President of Facebook’s parent company Meta, said AI has helped reduce hate speech by 80 per cent.

Clegg said that for every 10,000 pieces of content on the social media site, there are now only two containing hate speech.

“I wish it could be down to zero – I think it’s never going to be zero – but it’s been reduced by around 80 per cent over the last two years, because of advances in AI.”

Independent studies have been carried out by organisations such as UNESCO and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights to understand how tech companies can control online hate, especially against women.

“Women can be professionally and reputationally damaged, leading them to censor or self-censor, discouraging them from entering specific professional fields with public exposure and their mental health can be highly affected. 30 per cent of the women journalists surveyed by UNESCO answered that they self-censor on social media and 20 per cent withdrew from all online interaction due to harassment and threats,” UNESCO said in a report earlier this month.

The EUFRA, meanwhile, stressed that while AI helps flag content, human moderators are key to deciding the next steps.

It stressed that learning algorithms may struggle to consider the context of a potentially offensive word, and may unjustifiably trigger the blocking mechanism.

Meta’s Clegg highlighted that AI is a powerful tool that can tackle bad content that users and advertisers do not want to see. He also stressed that AI has the potential for people to engage in creative and fun activities.

Clegg revealed that AI is already integrated into Facebook’s systems to ensure that users see content that is most relevant and enjoyable to them. The content in every user’s feed is tailored to their preferences, and all the backend data is collected and powered by AI.

Clegg also acknowledged the responsibility that comes with collecting personalised data. He said: “Users control accountability, transparency, so people understand how these complex systems work and have a greater sense of control over them. I think those are the things that regulators and governments should rightly expect of our industry.”

Clegg talked about the future of tech, along with Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Remote Work and Digital Applications, and Managing Director of the World Government Summit. Clegg explained that many companies are working on operating systems, hardware, experiences, and software, and the future of AI is a complex undertaking.

He said, “We are on a journey, it is a long journey and an expensive one. You are in effect creating not a new app or a new piece of hardware or a new experience - you are in an entirely new computing platform.”

He emphasised that technology offers great opportunities for the world, but it also has its downsides that need to be mitigated. He stated, “If we can get away from violent mood swings, or sort of excessive utopianism and excessive pessimism, then we can really extract the best from technological innovation for us.”