Maria Montero

Facebook was reported to have removed close to 3 billion …

Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, double the number in the previous six months, the company said Thursday.

Almost all of them were caught before they had a chance to become “active” users of the social network.

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However, the new Facebook report does not indicate how many fake accounts were lost. As a result, it is unclear whether Facebook is improving the recovery of its accounts, or whether the problem itself is getting worse, or both.

The surge in deletions shows the challenges Facebook faces in deleting accounts created by computers to spread spam, fake news, and other objectionable material. Even as Facebook’s detection tools improve, so do the efforts of the creators of these fake accounts.

New numbers emerge as the company grapples with challenge after challenge, from fake news to Facebook’s role in election interference, hate speech and incitement to violence in the United States, Myanmar, India and others. places.

Facebook employs thousands of people to review posts, photos, comments, and videos for violations. Some things are also detected without humans, using artificial intelligence. Both humans and artificial intelligence make mistakes, and Facebook has been accused of political bias, as well as removing posts that discuss, rather than promote, racism.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has asked government regulation to decide what content should be considered harmful and on other issues. But at least in the US, government regulation of speech could run into First Amendment hurdles.

Of the 3.4 billion accounts eliminated in the semester, 1.2 billion arrived during the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.2 billion during the first quarter of this year. More than 99 percent of these were disabled before someone reported them to the company. Facebook says that most of the fake accounts were blocked “within minutes” of their creation. In the period from April to September of last year, Facebook blocked 1.5 billion accounts.

Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly active users. Most deleted accounts do not count towards this figure. Still, the company estimates that 5% of its monthly active users are fake.

Facebook attributed the increase in deleted accounts to “automated attacks by bad actors trying to create large volumes of accounts at the same time.” The company declined to say where these attacks originated, only that they were from different parts of the world.

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