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Facebook says it disabled 1.3 billion fake accounts in 6 months, but the problem is far from over

POSTED June 13, 2018 8:19 a.m.
Facebook announced Friday it disabled close to 1.3 billion fake accounts from last fall until March.

That’s quite a high number. In fact, it’s about the same amount of people in populations of United States, Russia, Mexico, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Brazil and the Philippines combined, according to Inc.

Facebook said it disabled 583 million fake accounts from January and March, along with another 694 million in the last three months of last year.

"Bad actors try to create fake accounts in large volumes automatically using scripts or bots, with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams," the Facebook report said.

"The decrease in fake accounts disabled between Q4 and Q1 is largely due to this variation,” the report added.

However, Facebook said roughly 3 percent to 4 percent of its accounts are fake. That means somewhere between 66 and 88 million accounts post fake content.

The newly published stats also revealed 21 million pieces of content that included nudity and sex were also removed. In total, 96 percent of that type of content was removed.

Facebook's vice president of product management, Guy Rosen, wrote in a blog post that Facebook found 837 million spam accounts in the first quarter of the year without any reports from users.

In fact, Rosen said Facebook deleted the accounts "within minutes of registration."

"This is in addition to the millions of fake account attempts we prevent daily from ever registering with Facebook," Rosen said.

He added, "most of the action we take to remove bad content is around spam and the fake accounts they use to distribute it."

According to CBS News, the Facebook report came as the social media company unveiled its new internal guidelines about what is allowed on the social network. Facebook explained what the company considered to be violations of its new policy.

The changes come as Facebook faces intense scrutiny for allowing governments and private organizations using the social network to sway elections and spread disinformation, too.

Alex Schultz, the company's vice president of growth, told CBS the company will continue to refine its policies and help make sure less fake accounts appear online.

"All of this is under development. These are the metrics we use internally and as such we're going to update them every time we can make them better," he said.

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