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Gitex Technology Week: Bigo uses AI and humans to keep violence and sex off its apps

Gitex Technology Week: Bigo uses AI and humans to keep violence and sex off its apps

Dubai: Bigo, the parent company of apps Imo and Bigo Live, is promising what other social media companies seem hesitant or incapable of doing: removing violent and pornographic videos from its apps in under three minutes.

Bigo Live is a live-streaming app, while Imo is a VoIP-based communication app.

Jackson Liu, the regional general manager for Bigo, said the company is responding to the ongoing problem on social media — live streaming of fake, violent, and salacious content — by employing a dual solution of artificial intelligence and human editors who monitor the site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The amount of content that Bigo Live and Imo have to monitor is substantial. The company’s apps have 300 million active users and are popular in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), India, and Russia. But even with over 200 people in Cairo alone monitoring content just for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, the amount of content being created on a daily basis is far more than those teams could handle, sometimes as much as an hour of content from 15,000 people a day.

So instead Bigo is using A.I. to monitor all their content. When a problem video is flagged, a human steps in to verify if the content needs to be removed.

Liu said the decision on whether to remove content is based on local laws and community standards, which is why the company hired local editors to help it differentiate between legitimate violations and complaints that are little more than person bias. Liu said one of the key standards they use is if a video is made with an attempt to insult someone.

“You have some universal standards, such as violence and pornography and guns,” Lui said. “Of course, people argue about this … but we don’t allow them to stream guns. It’s just too dangerous.”

Along with Cairo, the company also has offices in Palo Alto (Silicon Valley); Guangzhou, China; Gurgaon, India; and in Singapore, where is based. Bigo is currently in the process of opening an office in Dubai, but the office here will focus more on business relationships, advertising and generating revenue.

The way that Bigo’s AI works is that when it scans videos, it creates a screen shot every 3 seconds and then scans those images for inappropriate images. It takes only 2.6 seconds to identify an inappropriate image, and over 300 million images are processed a day by the AI. Liu said the system scans popular content first, and any video that sees a rapid increase in views will also get the AI’s attention.

Liu said that currently the AI had not been used with any other company’s content, but they are currently talking to government regulators who are looking for software to stop the streaming of these videos over their networks.

Bigo was acquired earlier this year by YY, one of China’s top live-streaming companies, for $1.45 billion.