Facebook increases takedowns of IP-infringing content

Social network Facebook received more than 463,000 complaints of intellectual property infringement in the last six months of last year, which saw the removal of more than 3.4 million pieces of infringing content removed from its platforms, the tech firm has revealed.

According to the Transparency Report covering July to December 2017, the tech firm received more than 314,500 complaints of IP infringement on Facebook, covering copyright, trademark and counterfeits, while the firm’s photo-sharing service Instagram received more than 149,000 reports of IP infringement on the platform.

In total, the social network removed more than 2.35 million pieces of IP infringing content from Facebook and more than 1.1 million pieces from Instagram. This includes individual posts, photos, videos, advertisements, profiles, accounts, pages and groups.

“We take IP rights seriously, and we aim to foster a safe and trusted community that encourages people to share content lawfully on Facebook and Instagram,” the firm said in the report. “We’ve put measures in place to help people protect their IP, including combatting copyright and trademark infringement and counterfeit goods. These include a global notice-and-takedown programme, a robust repeat infringer policy, and additional specialised measures going beyond notice-and-takedown.”

This is the second report that Facebook has released on IP infringing content on it’s platforms. At the end of last year it released the figures for 2017’s first six months, revealing that the tech firm received more than 377,000 reports of IP infringement across Facebook and Instagram, leading to the removal of almost 3 million pieces of IP infringing content across the platforms.

The new report shows that complaints made to the firm increased in the second six months of last year, as did the amount of infringing content that was removed from the firm’s platforms.

In the most recent Transparency Report, copyright infringement remained the biggest area of complaint, with 254,865 complaints for Facebook and 119,069 for Instagram. This was a particularly significant jump in the number of reports on Instagram compared to the first six months of 2017, when there were 70,008 reports of copyright infringement.

In terms of trademark infringement, Facebook received 40,791 reports, while Instagram received 20,381. Meanwhile, there were 18,903 and 9,777 reports about counterfeits on Facebook and Instagram respectively.

These figures represent IP reports submitted only through the online reporting forms and not by other means.

Facebook also measured its action rate reflecting the percentage of IP infringement reports that resulted in some or all reported content being removed.

The report action rate was highest for counterfeits with 81.85 per cent of these complaints actioned on Facebook and 83.08 per cent on Instagram. Meanwhile, 67.94 per cent of copyright infringement reports and 51 per cent of trademark infringement reports resulted in reported content being removed from Facebook. On Instagram, these figures were 69.6 per cent and 50.28 per cent respectively.

Facebook, for the first time, has also released figures covering its enforcement efforts to combat violations of its content standards including graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam and fake accounts. Spam and fake accounts were the two largest categories receiving enforcement action.

According to the Community Standards Enforcement Report, spam includes commercial spam, false advertising, fraud, malicious links and promotion of counterfeit goods. For the first quarter of 2018, the company took down 837 million pieces of spam, nearly all of which was flagged before any users reported it. The company is currently updating its measurement methods so was unable to give figures as to how prevalent spam was on its platforms.

Meanwhile, in the first quarter of this year, Facebook disabled about 583 million fake accounts, such as those that spread spam or conduct illicit activities. The social network estimated that around 3-4 per cent of active Facebook accounts on the site during the first quarter were fake.

The tech giant has been under increasing pressure of late to increase its efforts to take down illegal content and to boost its transparency and rebuild trust. Facebook called the new report a “first step” in communicating its enforcement efforts with its community.

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