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Around 5% of 2.4 billion monthly active users are fake – Facebook

Agence France-Presse
Around 5% of 2.4 billion monthly active users are fake – Facebook
While Facebook says it has identified more fake accounts than in previous quarters, there are about 120 million which have evaded discovery

SAN FRANCISCO, USA – Facebook on Thursday, May 23, said it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by “bad actors” and that 5% of active accounts are likely fakes.

An estimate of how many of the online social networks accounts are fake and actions taken against the creation of more during the first 3 months of this year was disclosed in Facebook’s latest report on enforcement activity, which can be viewed here. The report shows specific figures and findings on areas including sexual and nudity violations, bullying and harassment, exploitation of children, hate speech, drugs and firearms, spam, terrorist propaganda, violence and graphic content, and fake accounts.

For fake accounts, Facebook disabled 2.19 billion of them in the 1st quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior 3-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen in a blog post

While that is near the amount of actual monthly active users that Facebook has, the company clarifies that the “majority of these accounts were caught within minutes of registration, before they became a part of our monthly active user (MAU) population.” Most of these removals aren’t from the active user tally. 

“The amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen said. Facebook noted an “increase in automated, scripted attacks” this quarter. 

Facebook apparently disabled the accounts as automated imposters were trying to establish them. The leading social network, meanwhile, estimated that 5% of its 2.4 billion monthly active users or 120 million were fake accounts yet to be uncovered.

Chris Sonderby, VP and deputy general counsel, talked about the increase in government requests for data, saying it increased globally by 7% from 103,815 to 110,634. “This increase reflects normal growth for the second half as compared to previous reporting periods. Of the total volume, the United States continues to submit the highest number of requests, followed by India, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.” 

“As we’ve shared in previous reports, we carefully scrutinize every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. Each request must be legally sufficient and if a request appears to be defective or overly broad, we push back and will fight in court, if necessary,” he added. 

The California-based company also said it has made progress in battling hate speech, automatically detecting 65% of the content removed instead of needing to wait for users to report it.

Facebook took down 4 million posts considered hate speech in the first quarter of this year and continues to invest in technology to better detect such material in various languages and regions, according to Rosen. – with a report from Gelo Gonzales/Rappler.com

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