Tuesday, 17 September, 2019


Facebook removes more than three billion fake accounts

Facebook removes more than three billion fake accounts Facebook removes more than three billion fake accounts
Bennie Garza | 24 May, 2019, 05:39

The reason that the social network can boast almost as many removals as it has active users is that it typically finds and removes bogus accounts within minutes of them signing up.

That number seems astronomical, especially when considering that Facebook says it has 2.38 billion monthly active users overall.

Facebook removed more than three billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said Thursday.

While acknowledging that Facebook "knows that there's a lot of work ahead", Zuckerberg also touted the company's progress in curbing hate speech and graphic violence across the platform. As Facebook's detection tools get better, so do the efforts by creators of these fake accounts.

For the first time, Facebook also said it had taken action against guns and drugs, covering about 1.4 million pieces of content that violated its rules prohibiting individuals from selling guns, gun parts or ammunition, and 1.5 million instances of content that broke its rules outlawing drugs, including marijuana.

The vast majority were detected automatically, using technology to identify and remove millions of fake accounts within minutes of their creation, the social network said.

Facebook will have some of its content moderators focus only on hate speech, a company executive said Thursday.

For the first time, Facebook also included data on how many posts it restores, either after an internal review, or after a user appeals the take-down.

Facebook said the rise in the number of deleted fake accounts was because "bad actors" were using automated methods to create large numbers of them.

In a separate blog post, the company's VP of Analytics Alex Schultz cautioned that the sheer number of fake accounts isn't necessarily indicative of more risk to users."The number for fake accounts actioned is very skewed by simplistic attacks, which don't represent real harm or even a real risk of harm", he wrote.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called for government regulation to decide what should be considered harmful content and on other issues.

And what regulation might look like - and whether the companies, lawmakers, privacy and free speech advocates and others will agree on what it should look like - is not clear. But at least in the USA, government regulation of speech could run into First Amendment hurdles. They argue Facebook, which has acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in recent years, wields far too much power and has a monopoly in the industry. The company declined to say where these attacks originated, only that they were from different parts of the world.

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