Facebook revealed today that it deleted a whopping 1.5 billion fake accounts between April and September of this year. This revelation was made via the company’s community standards report.
This report was partly made due to the plethora of controversies and allegations the company was involved in. A lot of fake news, hate speech and political propaganda was born on the site because of the 2016 US elections.
According to the report, Facebook got rid of 800 million accounts in the second quarter and 754 million accounts in the third quarter of 2018.
It got rid of 534 million accounts in the first quarter, which is quite less compared to the deletion it did and second and third quarters. This shines a light on how big Facebook’s fake accounts problem is.
The company added that most of these fake accounts are created to gain monetary value. On the plus side, Facebook’s fake account detection algorithms have improved massively over the years. 99.6% of the fake accounts were detected without any human input.
This means that all these accounts were caught by Artificial Intelligence. This speeds up the process of deleting fake accounts. The sooner such accounts get deleted, the better. When these accounts get deleted quickly, this means the probability of them causing damage is minimized.
The company also removed 2.1 billion amounts of spam during the same timeframe. Facebook also had the mega problem of fake political ads. These ads could be manipulated easily, so it was easy to fool Facebook.
Earlier reports suggested that Mark Zuckerburg and his team delayed removing Russian accounts that wreaked havoc in the US elections. And as they say, justice delayed is justice denied. These Russian accounts were hellbent on triggering relations between the left and right wing.
Like always, Facebook denied the claims immediately. Zuckerburg and Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, were both fighting against the allegations and trying their best to control the situation.
Zuckerburg compared fake accounts with crime, saying that one cannot completely get rid of them, only minimize the menace.
He wrote, “Even then, there will always be issues. These are not problems you fix, but issues where you continually improve. Just as a free society will always have crime and our expectation of government is not to eliminate all crime but to effectively manage and reduce it, our community will also always face its share of abuse.”
Facebook tried its hardest to prevent a similar fiasco during the recently held US midterm elections. The FBI  tipped Facebook about some accounts that were involved in some illegal activity. So the company deleted more than a hundred pages and accounts from both Instagram and Facebook and informed the press about these actions.
The social network still has a long way to go if it wants to regain users’ trust. 2018 might be the darkest year in Facebook’s history. The company faced a major security breach in September when around 50 million accounts got hacked.
Then there was the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that rocked the whole tech world. These were real tests that the company faced.

Avatar for Fazeel Ashraf

IT graduate from Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology with a passion for writing. When not reading or writing, I can be found listening to rock and metal or playing some classic jams on my electric guitar. I’m also a big fan of horror movies.

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