Cracking the Whip On Misinformation: 5.5 Billion Fake Accounts On Facebook Axed In 2020

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Fake accounts on Facebook has become a nightmare for millions of genuine users, who often find themselves engaged with abusive conversation mostly triggered by such fake accounts. Just as the masses were getting overwhelmed against the storm of fibs, Facebook has stepped in and put its foot down.

Seeking to commence putting arrows in the meandering misinformation on the platform, Facebook seems to have gotten a sizeable kill.

In a much-appreciated announcement, social media giant Facebook has come down heavily on the malicious and fake accounts plaguing its platform in a bid to curb misinformation. Putting out a blog post detailing the efforts, the California-based company has revealed to have taken in excess of 1.3 billion fake accounts to the cleaners in Q4 2020!

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The weed-out, coming in the period between October to December 2020, has also included the removal of more than 100 networks of coordinated inauthentic behaviour (CIB) from Facebook.

Expounding further on the organization’s efforts to snuff out misinformation, Guy Rosen – VP Integrity, Facebook, also explained how a global network of evaluation has been put in place to knuckle down on the distorted information.

According to Rosen, the company has now more than 80 independent fact-checkers tasked with reviewing content in 60 languages.

The method of adding warning labels with contextual information on information flagged as false is a move that has reaped dividends too. Adding how the distribution of false content is reduced to lower reach, Rosen claimed that people refrained from clicking on flagged content with a success rate of 95%.

Even though the overview of these efforts has come right on cue ahead of a pending review in front of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the scale of the clampdown and numbers achieved in the fight against misinformation will definitely hearten social media users.

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Facebook has been fighting a never-ending battle against fake accounts. In 2020, Facebook pulled down a whopping 5.5 billion fake accounts – a relatively lesser number as compared with the previous year. The declining number of fake accounts Facebook has taken action against is also an indicator that efforts by the social media giants have started bearing fruits.

With a spate of high-profile scandals that have engulfed major players in the social media space, it has led down to a gulf of mistrust creeping in the users. The disillusionment with prominent companies like Facebook, TikTok, and others has only grown, particularly with Facebook string together a chain of unsavoury scheming.

The glare on Facebook has been all the more intense. Virtually everyone from civil rights groups to users alike has called out the Zuckerberg-led behemoth for ineffectual handling of proliferating hate speech and misinformation concerns on its platform.

Cut to present, and the strikes against deceptive behaviour have led to Facebook making some key announcements in quick succession. Only last week, in a bid to put the noose around the spread of hateful and harmful content, the social media giant introduced changes to its Groups feature. Add to it, the support key feature on Facebook’s iPhone app, aimed at checking against malicious hackers who may leverage the pull of famous personalities to propagate their agendas.

Facebook has taken the stance of disrupting malevolence on the platform by strangling the economic incentives structure behind such motives.

The best evidence of this strategy working is the take down of 12 million pieces of misinforming content related to COVID-19 and vaccines. While the world has been hit hard by the pandemic, the efforts of Facebook’s AI systems and fact checkers have moved to restore some parity in a swamp of virulent information being pumped through its channels.

In Facebook’s case, even though it has been tweaking its policies (changed our News Feed ranking system) despite incurring downsides, as claimed, an organisation with the reach of Facebook needs to do more.

Investments in highlighting original, informative reporting, and taking more targeted measures to ensure fewer people see false information should be a priority, particularly given how the world has been left aghast in seeing the storming of the Capitol hill linked to the widespread nature of such destructive information elements on its platform.

While the recent announcement related to fake accounts on Facebook will surely redeem the organization to some degree, the war has only begun in earnest now. And Facebook must continue to rage with all it might because that is the true way to keep the venomous information on the platform at bay.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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