Facebook Removed 583 Million Fake Accounts This Year Alone

Facebook's latest transparency move is showing you how much objectionable content it removes

Facebook said it has recently developed metrics as a way to review the content shared on its platform and the transparency report reviewed the content posted in the community during the period from October 2017 through March 2018.

The social network said it took down 21 million pieces of adult nudity in the first three months of the year, according to its first Community Standards Enforcement Report.

In 85.6 per cent of the cases, Facebook detected the images before being alerted to them by users, said the report, issued the day after the company said about 200 apps had been suspended on its platform as part of an investigation into misuse of private user data.

The company removed or put a warning screen for graphic violence in front of 3.4 million pieces of content in the first quarter, almost triple the 1.2 million a quarter earlier, the world's largest social network was quoted as saying in a published document. Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users, suggesting there are still millions of fake accounts on its service at any given time.

Guy Rosen, VP of product management, said the social media giant blocks millions of daily attempts to create fake accounts from being registered.

Facebook also took down 837 million pieces of spam in Q1, nearly all of which were identified and flagged before anyone reported them. The majority of these Facebook posts dealt with nudity, propaganda, graphic violence, terrorism and hate speech, among other negative content.

Facebook removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech in the three months to March, a rise of more than half from the three months prior.

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"It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology to make Facebook safer for everyone".

The company has been using artificial intelligence to help pinpoint the bad content, but Rosen said the technology still struggles to understand the context around a Facebook post pushing hate, and one simply recounting a personal experience.

Facebook's new report, which it plans to update twice a year, comes a month after the company published its internal rules for how reviewers decide what content should be removed. The company attributed the decline to the "variability of our detection technology's ability to find and flag" fakes.

"We believe that increased transparency tends to lead to increased accountability and responsibility over time, and publishing this information will push us to improve more quickly too", wrote Rosen.

While the removal of 583 million fake Facebook accounts is certainly noteworthy, it does little to address concerns regarding actual user privacy.

Since the fallout over political firm Cambridge Analytica obtaining millions of Facebook users' data without their permission, Facebook reiterated its commitment to being more transparent.

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