Facebook said on Monday that it took down 1.3 billion fake accounts between October and December last year, and that it had over 35,000 people working on tackling misinformation on its platform. The social media giant said that it also removed more than 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines that global health experts flagged as misinformation. False claims and conspiracies about the coronavirus vaccines have proliferated on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter during the pandemic.
Facebook’s disclosure of data on misinformation comes ahead of an inspection by the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce into how technology platforms including Facebook are tackling misinformation.
About the removal of fake accounts, Facebook said that it investigates and takes down covert foreign and domestic influence operations that rely on fake account.
“Over the past three years, we’ve removed over 100 networks of coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) from our platform and keep the public informed about our efforts through our monthly CIB reports,” the company said in a blogpost.
The company said that it cracks down on deceptive behaviour by disrupting the economic incentives structure behind it. “We’ve built teams and systems to detect and enforce against inauthentic behaviour tactics behind a lot of clickbait,” Facebook said. “We also use artificial intelligence to help us detect fraud and enforce our policies against inauthentic spam accounts.”
Facebook that also owns other popular social media and messaging platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram noted that users could also post misinformation “in good faith”. To address that, it said that the company has built a global network of more than 80 independent fact-checkers, who review content in more than 60 languages.