Monday, 17 December, 2018

Facebook purges hundreds of spammers spreading ‘sensational political content’

Facebook purged over 800 accounts and pages pushing political messages for profit Facebook removes more than 800 political accounts and pages for spam ahead of midterms
Jeannette Daniel | 13 October, 2018, 21:05

The social media giant declined a request from VOA News to name the 559 pages and 251 accounts.

Separately, Facebook has disabled dozens of accounts and profiles belonging to Russian database provider SocialDataHub for the unauthorized collection of user information, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Americans are taking a page out of Russia's playbook.

"We look at these actors' behaviour - such as whether they're using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam - rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove", the post pleads, already aware that the usual voices will be claiming institutional bias.

Facebook has started showing who is behind election-related online ads, and have shut down accounts involved in coordinated stealth influence campaigns.

More news: Amazon scraps secret AI tool that showed bias against women

The offending actions included spamming Facebook groups with identical pieces of content and using phony profiles, Facebook said. Their goal, according to Gleicher and Product Manager Oscar Rodriguez, was to inflate the perception of post popularity to drive traffic to illegitimate websites and ad farms looking to capitalize on political debate. "We are not fake news".

Facebook is better prepared to defend against efforts to manipulate the platform to influence elections and has recently thwarted foreign influence campaigns targeting several countries, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said recently in a post on the social network.

Oscar Rodriguez, a Product Manager at Facebook, said that USA midterm elections played a big part in the removal of these pages and accounts.

The company did say that part of the reason why it revealed details on the removals was the upcoming United States midterms, which are only a few weeks away. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop. "Facebook has always been aware of the presence and activities of these pages but did nothing until the company sensed a potential public relations disaster as reporters started working on stories about right-wing networks intentionally promoting misinformation through their operation of these pages", Angelo Carusone, president of media watchdog Media Matters, said in a statement.

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