Fake Facebook accounts hit 3b

Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Engadget reported that Facebook has 2.38 billion active monthly users.

In the first three months of 2018, Facebook received 1.1 million appeals from people to reverse their decision, though only 130,000 were restored following these complaints.

The accounts, which Facebook said may have been deleted before users ever saw them, show the company is still besieged by groups and individuals trying to create fake profiles. The company has been under constant criticism about its content policies and efforts to detect fake accounts since the 2016 USA presidential election, when Russian Federation used the social network to try to sway voters.

Facebook took down four million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen.

As noted, those accounts that are blocked at the creation stage are not included in Facebook's overall fake profile count. Facebook disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019. According to analysis by Business Insider, the new data from Facebook indicates a large climb in the number of fake accounts requiring deletion.

During the period, Facebook also removed or labelled 11.1 million pieces of terrorist content, 52.3 million instances of violent or graphic content and 7.3 million posts, photos or other uploads containing hate speech. The video was viewed just 4,000 times before Facebook removed it, but it spread rapidly across the internet and was reposted millions of times.

Using AI to proactively catch bad actors has prevented some people from even seeing fake accounts, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said, though he did not disclose the origin of the spammers behind them. Some things are also detected without humans, using artificial intelligence.

Facebook's quest against the menace of fake news is yielding pretty handsome fruits.

While some have argued for stricter authentication on social media services, the issue is thorny. They argue Facebook, which has acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in recent years, wields far too much power and has a monopoly in the industry. People including United Nations free expression rapporteur David Kaye say it's important to allow pseudonymous speech online for human rights activists and others whose lives could otherwise be endangered.

As Facebook hopped from one crisis to another and its stock price suffered past year, some shareholders in the company made a proposal to reduce Zuckerberg's powers. They did not touch on the motives behind the attacks, nor whether they are part of an organized effort. New to the report are Facebook's efforts to combat sales of drugs and firearms on the social network.

It estimates that fake accounts represent about 5% of its monthly active users globally.