Proactive detection technology will be used across the two platforms to look out for signs that someone is attempting to sell drugs, such as images, alongside prices, phone numbers or usernames for other social media accounts.
“By catching more posts automatically, this technology allows our team to use their expertise instead to investigate accounts, Pages, Groups and hashtags, as well as work with experts to spot the next trends,” says Kevin Martin, vice president for public policy in the US at Facebook.
The move is part of a joint initiative between Facebook, Google and Twitter called Tech Together to Fight the Opioid Crisis, which aims to help people struggling with addiction in the States, amid a deepening opioid crisis.
University of Alabama’s Computer Forensic Research Lab is working with the companies to flag content and improve their understanding of tactics used by bad actors to hide their activities, such as new street names for drugs.
“We want to make vital resources for treatment easier to find,” Mr Martin adds.
“When people search for information about opioids on Facebook and Instagram, we direct them to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline Information Page and other resources for free and confidential treatment and education.
“Teaming up with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, we’ve made their helpline accessible on Messenger, helping them to connect with over a thousand families in need this year.”