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Facebook Tackles Fake News, Deletes Almost 800 Accounts

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia.

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Fake News, Facebook, dating
Intel, Facebook working on cheaper AI chip. VOA

Facebook announced Thursday that it had deleted over 800 mostly U.S.-based pages and accounts that were posting politically oriented spam and engaging in “inauthentic behavior.”

The social media giant declined a request from VOA News to name the 559 pages and 251 accounts. Nation in Distress, a pro-President Donald Trump page identified by The Washington Post as being among the banned, had over 3 million followers.

Facebook, India, Fake News
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook said that many of the pages and accounts had posted political clickbait across multiple fake accounts to drive users to their websites, where they were often targeted with ads.

“Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was,” Facebook said on its news blog. “Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate.”

Facebook, India, Fake News
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote address at a Facebook developers conference in San Jose, California. VOA

Facebook said “the ‘fake news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate,” noting the proximity of the 2018 midterm elections.

Also Read: ‘Fake Clone’ Message Goes Viral on Facebook

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russia, countries that have antagonistic relations with the U.S. The company says most of the pages and accounts banned this time were from the U.S. (VOA)

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Facebook Reveals Millions of Instagram Passwords Stored on Servers

Facebook had found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems.

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instagram
The company on Thursday revealed that millions of passwords belonging to the users of its photo-sharing service Instagram were also exposed. Pixabay

A day after admitting it “unintentionally” uploaded emails of nearly 1.5 million of new users, Facebook has now revealed that millions of Instagram passwords were stored on its servers in a readable format.

Last month, Facebook said that it fixed a security issue wherein millions of its users’ passwords were stored in plain text and “readable” format for years and were searchable by thousands of its employees.

The company on Thursday revealed that millions of passwords belonging to the users of its photo-sharing service Instagram were also exposed.

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The revelation came to light after a security researcher noticed that “Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities”. VOA

“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” said the social networking giant in an update.

“We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.”

Facebook had found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems.

“This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable. We have fixed these issues and as a precaution will be notifying everyone whose passwords we found stored this way,” wrote Pedro Canahuati, Vice President, Engineering, Security and Privacy at Facebook.

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“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” said the social networking giant in an update. Pixabay

A Facebook spokesperson admitted late Wednesday that emails of 1.5 million people were harvested since May 2016 to help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.

The revelation came to light after a security researcher noticed that “Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities”.

Also Read: The Errant Son: Mir Murtaza And Al-Zulfiqar
The social network said the contacts weren’t shared with anyone and were being deleted.

In March, a report by Krebs On Security claimed that around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees. (IANS)