Facebook Buys AI Firm

Written by Monica Savaglia
Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:43PM

Facebook, one of the world's biggest companies, recently bought an artificial intelligence (AI) company.

Facebook bought London-based AI startup Bloomsbury. And the acquisition proves that AI is a technology that everyone is jumping on board of.

Bloomsbury has developed a machine-learning tool that analyzes and answers questions about unstructured text.

Machine learning is a subset of AI. It uses statistical techniques to give computers the ability to “learn” with data instead of being programmed to do a certain task.

Facebook had its eye on this startup because it's become a leading expert in natural language processing. And Facebook is desperately looking for ways to solve one of its biggest challenges: fake news.

The company has been looking for ways to solve this challenge, and it’s turned to machine learning to hopefully help.

Facebook users are losing trust in the company because of the recent news headlines that detail the platform's fake news and selling user data. If Facebook doesn’t do something about regaining its users’ trust soon, it will mean a decline in users. And a decline in users would be bad news for both the company and its shareholders...

The Fight Against Fake News

This purchase will add more strength to fixing a problem that Facebook has been having a hard time finding a solution for. Bloomsbury AI has the expertise, which is why Facebook wanted to snag the company up before it was too late.

Bloomsbury’s cofounder and head of research is Sebastian Riedel. He also cofounded Factmata, which is a startup that claims to have developed tools to help brands in fighting against fake news.

Obviously, this would be extremely helpful for Facebook.

Facebook didn’t outright say that this was the definite reason for the acquisition. But it's easy to assume. Facebook has been in the news a lot lately for its lack of success in eliminating fake news from its social media platform.

Facebook had the following to say about Bloomsbury's team: “Their expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications”...

Facebook’s Future Without AI

Over the past 14 years that Facebook has been operational, it's accumulated more than 2.2 billion users. In terms of market capitalization, it’s one of the five largest firms in the world. Facebook’s market capitalization is $442 billion.

People have grown to love Facebook’s platform. It gives you the ability to connect and stay connected with friends and family whom you otherwise would have no idea what was going on in their lives. That is, unless you gave them a phone call. And even a phone call wouldn’t be as personal as seeing your friend’s Facebook post with pictures of what they did over the weekend.

It serves as a way to network and stay connected without being too intrusive.

But the past two months have been difficult for Facebook. It's lost over $100 billion in market capitalization when it fell under attack by the U.S. and Europe for its business conduct.

As I mentioned earlier, users are losing trust in the company and what it does with its users’ data. Privacy and data security have been hot topics within the past year. And they should be. Your information is your information, and it shouldn’t be shared.

And it especially shouldn't be shared with advertisers just so they can advertise to you directly, or for you to only be shown news stories or information on your feed that relates directly to you.

AI and machine learning will have the ability to create a less biased and more secure platform for users altogether.

Facebook is taking a step in the right direction with its acquisition of Bloomsbury. Let’s hope it pays off.

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia Signature Park Avenue Digest

Monica Savaglia
Editorial Director, Park Avenue Digest

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