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Social Media Giant Facebook Removes 687 Fake Accounts, Pages Linked to Congress

“In the mean time, we are awaiting a response from Facebook to provide us a list of all pages/accounts that they have taken down.”

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

In a startling revelation ahead of the general elections, Facebook on Monday announced it has removed 687 spam Facebook Pages and accounts connected to individuals associated with the Congress party’s IT cell.

The individuals engaging in this coordinated inauthentic behaviour used fake accounts and joined various Groups to disseminate their content and increase engagement on their own Pages, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook.

“The Page admins and account owners typically posted about local news and political issues, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidates’ views, the INC (Indian National Congress) and criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“While the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our review found that it was connected to individuals associated with an INC IT Cell,” Gleicher said in a telephonic conversation from Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

“The majority of these accounts had already been suspended by our automated systems,” Gleicher added.

Facebook discovered the coordinated inauthentic behaviour in February this year.

facebook, congress
Earlier Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari had said that the party needs to check the veracity of these pages/accounts, “whether the Facebook pages are linked to us”. Wikimedia

The social media giant also discovered spam activities carried out by an Indian IT firm — Silver Touch which runs the pro-BJP page “The India Eye”.

It removed 15 Pages, Groups and accounts linked to the firm.

“They posted about local news and political events, including topics like the Indian government, the upcoming elections, the BJP and alleged misconduct of political opponents including the INC,” Gleicher said.

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However, Congress replied to the claims of Facebook via Twitter, the party said, “This is to clarify no official pages run by INC have been taken down. Additionally, all pages run by our verified volunteers are also unaffected.

“In the mean time, we are awaiting a response from Facebook to provide us a list of all pages/accounts that they have taken down.” (IANS)

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Facebook Removes 3.2 Billion Fake Accounts

Facebook removes 3.2 billion fake accounts and 11.4 million hate speech posts

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Facebook kills 3.2bn fake accounts and11.4 million hate speech posts. Pixabay

As the US Presidential election approaches, Facebook said that it has removed more than 3.2 billion fake accounts in the April-September period along with taking action on 11.4 million hate speech posts in the same period.

In total, Facebook removed 5.4 billion fake accounts and 15.5 million hate speech posts since January.

“Over the past two quarters, we have improved our ability to detect and block attempts to create fake, abusive accounts. We can estimate that every day, we prevent millions of attempts to create fake accounts using these detection systems,” the social networking giant said on Wednesday.

The majority of such accounts were caught within minutes of registration, before they became a part of Facebook monthly active user (MAU) population.

“Our proactive rate remained above 99 per cent for both quarters. Prevalence for fake accounts continues to be estimated at approximately 5 per cent of our worldwide monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook,” said the company.

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In total, Facebook removed 5.4 billion fake accounts since January. Pixabay

Earlier this year, Facebook began allowing its hate speech algorithms to begin automatically removing content that violates its policies.

“One result of that decision has been a sharp spike in the amount of hate speech taken off Facebook,” said the company.

Facebook said It is using machine learning-based detection technology that can find and flag hate speech using several different methods.

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“Starting in Q2 2019, our systems began removing posts automatically when they received very high scores or matched existing hate speech in our database. In all other cases when our systems detect potential hate speech, they send the post to our review team to determine if it should be removed,” explained the company. (IANS)