Facebook has hired a team of ex-intelligence officers, researchers and media buyers to find the worst possible things that can be done using the platform and to help the company prevent them.
The group is called “Investigative Operations Team” and is testing the company’s advertising systems, pages, Instagram, Messenger and more, BuzzFeed News reported on Saturday.
The team is searching for troubling behaviour, examining keywords and other signals that could be used to promote violence. It is also investigating Facebook’s merchant tools, attempting to spot problematic product sales.
“What we have now is a series of people who are truly looking for how could you possibly do something wrong,” said Lynda Talgo, the Facebook Business Integrity Director.
“Their entire job is to look forward and figure out what’s coming around the corner,” she added.
Facebook’s creation of this team is the latest sign of an ongoing mindset shift among Silicon Valley’s giants who are realising they can’t simply assume the best of their users and must prepare for the worst behaviour imaginable.
Google has set up an “Intelligence Desk” at YouTube which is meant to detect controversial content before it mushrooms into crisis.