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Facebook Partners With University of Alabama to Counter Opioid Use


Social media giant Facebook is partnering with the University of Alabama in Birmingham to counter the latest tactics used online to promote and sell drugs.

The university’s Computer Forensic Research Lab has been selected to partner with the new coalition of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, led by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, to fight the opioid crisis.

The coalition, led by Facebook and named Tech Together to Fight the Opioid Crisis, met for the first time on Tuesday in Washington, with experts and organizations already working on the issues concerning the opioid use.

According to the official statement released by Facebook, the university’s research lab will lead the efforts in understanding the pattern used by “bad actors” online to “mask their activity.”

“We partner with experts to maximize the impact of our efforts to reduce stigma, help people find resources, and stop attempts to violate our policies,” Facebook said in a news release.

“We’re also working with the Computer Forensic Research Lab at the University of Alabama in Birmingham to understand the latest tactics bad actors use to mask their activity, such as new street names for drugs. UAB works closely with our Community Operations team to flag content that may violate our policies so we can take action.”

Facebook has also announced its plans to roll out proactive detection on its platform to take down the content that promotes opioid use.

“Our technology is able to detect content that includes images of drugs and depicts the intent to sell with information such as price, phone numbers or usernames for other social media accounts,” Facebook added.

The coalition will also simplify the process of finding the treatment against opioid use on its platforms.

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