1.3B Facebook posts removed between October and December, company says

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Facebook says it took down more than a billion posts from accounts it deemed to be fraudulent or fake during the last three months of 2020.

“We take a hard line against this activity and block millions of fake accounts each day, most of them at the time of creation. Between October and December of 2020, we disabled more than 1.3 billion of them,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity wrote in a blog post on Monday. “We also investigate and take down covert foreign and domestic influence operations that rely on fake accounts.” 

“We also crack down on deceptive behavior,” he said. “We’ve found that one of the best ways to fight this behavior is by disrupting the economic incentives structure behind it.” 

Rosen said the company has built teams and systems to “detect and enforce against inauthentic behavior tactics behind a lot of clickbait.” Facebook has been using artificial intelligence to help it detect fraud and enforce beefed-up policies against inauthentic spam accounts at the same time. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in recent months have pressured Facebook and other social networking giants to do more to combat misinformation peddled on their platforms about the coronavirus, election integrity and other hotly-debated political topics. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee this week will hold hearings to examine what tech companies are doing to stem the flow of misinformation and disinformation.

Energy and Commerce ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said earlier this month social that media companies need to “do better” in combatting misinformation given “the significant role they play in our society.” 

“Unfortunately, Big Tech has broken any sense of trust that they can be fair stewards for speech and the truth. It is time for Energy and Commerce Republicans to act,” she said. “To be clear, we will not pursue government regulation of speech, but it’s a dereliction of our duty to our constituents to do nothing.”

Rosen said Facebook takes its efforts to block misinformation seriously.

“Despite all of these efforts, there are some who believe that we have a financial interest in turning a blind eye to misinformation,” Rosen wrote in the blog. “The opposite is true. We have every motivation to keep misinformation off of our apps and we’ve taken many steps to do so at the expense of user growth and engagement.

“As with every integrity challenge, our enforcement will never be perfect even though we are improving it all the time. While nobody can eliminate misinformation from the internet entirely, we continue using research, teams, and technologies to tackle it in the most comprehensive and effective way possible.”

Tags Big tech Cathy McMorris Rodgers Energy and Commerce Facebook misinformation Social media
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