MANILA, Philippines – Facebook deleted “tens of thousands” of fake accounts in the United Kingdom as part of its continuing efforts against propaganda and fake news.
The move comes a month before the UK elections, and mirrors a previous crackdown on 30,000 fake accounts before France’s elections.
Facebook didn’t specify an exact number this time around.
Along with the deletion of the fake accounts, the social network also enforced a few other measures in its campaign against fake news.
Facebook said it has introduced new technologies to help detect accounts that spread spam or fake news and accounts that repeatedly post the same thing. These new technologies were used to take action against the “tens of thousands” of fake accounts based in the UK.
One of these technologies identifies whether a person reads an article but does not share it with friends, which implies that the article may be misleading, The Telegraph reported. Articles that have been identified as such will be demoted so they will be seen less often in the feed.
Offline, Facebook started running a series of newspaper advertisements in the UK that teach readers how to identify false news. The social network previously ran similar ads in Germany and France. (Read: 10 tips on how to spot fake news from Facebook)
“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we. That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news,” said Facebook’s UK policy director Simon Milner.
BBC also quoted Milner as saying, “To help people spot false news we are showing tips to everyone on Facebook on how to identify if something they see is false.”
Milner added that Facebook is supporting third-party fact checkers, Full Fact and First Draft, as part of pre-election efforts in the UK.
As the Macron leak in France proved, information operations can hit unexpectedly during critical times. Facebook’s recent actions show a more proactive approach to the issue – a noticeable change following its initial hesitance to admit the role that social media plays in today’s politics. – Rappler.com