Facebook Keeps the Pressure on Fake News With a Purge of Fake Accounts

The social network also ran full-page ads in several newspapers in France in advance of the presidential election

Facebook is keeping the pedal to the metal in its battle against fake news, announcing steps to crack down on the fake accounts that share much of this content, and running full-page informational ads in French newspapers prior to that country’s upcoming presidential election.

Shabnam Shaik, a technical program manager on Facebook’s protect and care team, announced in a Facebook Security note that the social network implemented some changes to enable it to more effectively find and delete fake accounts by detecting suspicious activity such as repeated posting of the same content or accelerated rates of messages sent.

Shaik wrote:

We’ve made some additional improvements recently, and we want to explain them here today. These changes help us detect fake accounts on our service more effectively—including ones that are hard to spot. We’ve made improvements to recognize these inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity—without assessing the content itself. For example, our systems may detect repeated posting of the same content, or an increase in messages sent.

With these changes, we expect that we will also reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts. In France, for example, these improvements have enabled us to take action against more than 30,000 fake accounts. While these most recent improvements will not result in the removal of every fake account, we are dedicated to continually improving our effectiveness. Our priority, of course is to remove the accounts with the largest footprint, with a high amount of activity and a broad reach.

Speaking of France, Romain Dillet of TechCrunch reported that Facebook ran full-page ads in several newspapers in the country—including Le Monde, Les Échos, Libération, Le Parisien and 20 Minutes—containing tips on how users can spot fake news, similar to the information it began sharing atop its News Feed earlier this month.

Image of newspaper ad courtesy of Romain Dille, TechCrunch. Image courtesy of jax10289/iStock. Image on homepage courtesy of DNY59/iStock.