In addition to its ongoing attack against fake or misleading news stories, Facebook is now also cracking down on fake user accounts as well. The social media giant states that it has already taken action against thousands of fake accounts, especially in France, and it’s today shedding light on new additional tools to effectively weed out even more fake accounts — selling fake likes, spreading violent or misleading content.
Describing the basic philosophy behind this decision, Shabnam Shaik, Technical Program Manager, Facebook said in a note:
We’ve found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way they do in real life, they act responsibly. Fake accounts don’t follow this pattern and are closely related to the creation and spread of spam. That’s why we’re so focused on keeping these inauthentic accounts and their activity off our platform.
Facebook’s Security team is constantly putting the platform through its paces by regularly building and updating the technical system. They’re developing new solutions to induce under-the-hood changes to how it tackles escalating reports of abuse, detect and remove spam, identify and eliminate fake accounts. This falls in line with the company’s commitment with respect to the upcoming France elections.
Following along the same lines, the social media giant has now deployed solutions which make it difficult for individuals to create fake accounts spreading fake news. They’ve also deployed tools for better detection of fake accounts on the platform, which spread violent and explicit content on the platform — as seen earlier yesterday. The fake user accounts are being detected “by identifying patterns of activity” such as repeated posting of similar articles or an increase in messages sent.
Though Facebook is not assessing the content itself to ban such accounts from the platform, but Shabnam says, these changes would help them crack down on spam, misinformation, and other deceptive content as well. The addition of these features to Facebook has enabled them to take action against over 30,000 fake accounts in France, which is just the beginning. Though it will not result in the removal of every fake account immediately but will definitely help improve the privacy and safety of users.
With regards to the same, Shabnam further continues to add,
By constantly improving our techniques, we also aim to reduce the financial incentives for spammers who rely on distribution to make their efforts worthwhile. But we know we have to keep getting better.
For those unaware, internet giants such as Facebook, Google, and even Twitter had been accused of being at frontlines for the spread of fake or misleading stories at the time of U.S Presidential elections. Some users even went as far as to hold Facebook responsible for the shocking outcome, i.e Donald Trump’s victory, of the election. The claims were rebuffed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who had then said that fake news accounted for only 1 percent of the content. And the social media giant has since been cracking down on the spread of such stories through new tools, features, and partnerships.