Validating Multimedia Content Moderation Software via Semantic Fusion

Wenxuan Wang, Jingyuan Huang, Chang Chen, Jiazhen Gu, Jianping Zhang, Weibin Wu, Pinjia He, Michael Lyu

The exponential growth of social media platforms, such as Facebook and TikTok, has revolutionized communication and content publication in human society. Users on these platforms can publish multimedia content that delivers information via the combination of text, audio, images, and video. Meanwhile, the multimedia content release facility has been increasingly exploited to propagate toxic content, such as hate speech, malicious advertisements, and pornography. To this end, content moderation software has been widely deployed on these platforms to detect and blocks toxic content. However, due to the complexity of content moderation models and the difficulty of understanding information across multiple modalities, existing content moderation software can fail to detect toxic content, which often leads to extremely negative impacts. We introduce Semantic Fusion, a general, effective methodology for validating multimedia content moderation software. Our key idea is to fuse two or more existing single-modal inputs (e.g., a textual sentence and an image) into a new input that combines the semantics of its ancestors in a novel manner and has toxic nature by construction. This fused input is then used for validating multimedia content moderation software. We realized Semantic Fusion as DUO, a practical content moderation software testing tool. In our evaluation, we employ DUO to test five commercial content moderation software and two state-of-the-art models against three kinds of toxic content. The results show that DUO achieves up to 100% error finding rate (EFR) when testing moderation software. In addition, we leverage the test cases generated by DUO to retrain the two models we explored, which largely improves model robustness while maintaining the accuracy on the original test set.

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