Sunday, 22 July, 2018

How many fake accounts did Facebook quash so far this year?

Entrance to Facebook's Menlo Park office Facebook admits 4% of accounts were fake
Pete Mitchell | 16 May, 2018, 13:38

The report said Facebook has removed or put a warning screen for graphic violence in front of 3.4 million pieces of content in the first quarter, almost triple the 1.2 million a quarter earlier.

Over the last 18 months Facebook has significantly increased the measures aimed at identifying inappropriate content and protect users, said Vice-President of product management, guy Rosen.

Responding to calls for transparency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, Facebook yesterday said those closures came on top of blocking millions of attempts to create fake accounts every day.

Facebook has released its Community Standards Enforcement Report which details the actions the firm has taken against content that's not allowed on its platform such as graphic violence, adult nudity and sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam, and fake accounts.

"We took down 21 million pieces of adult nudity and sexual activity in Q1 2018 - 96 percent of which was found and flagged by our technology before it was reported", said Mr Rosen.

Facebook said in a written report that of every 10,000 pieces of content viewed in the first quarter, an estimated 22 to 27 pieces contained graphic violence, up from an estimate of 16 to 19 late a year ago. "Thanks to AI tools we've built, nearly all of the spam was removed before anyone reported it, and most of the fake accounts were removed within minutes of being registered".

Facebook's report suggests its investment in AI that can help moderate objectionable content is slowly paying off.

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Facebook removed 2.5 million pieces of hate speech in the three months to March, a rise of more than half from the three months prior.

Mr Rosen said making the figures public will "push" the company to improve more quickly.

"AI still needs to get better before we can use it to effectively remove more linguistically nuanced issues like hate speech in different languages, but we're working on it", said Zuckerberg to CNet. The problem with trying to proactively scour Facebook for hate speech is that the company's AI can only understand so much at the moment.

Facebook's new report, which it plans to update twice a year, comes a month after the company published its internal rules for how reviewers decide what content should be removed. "We tend to find and flag less of it, and rely more on user reports, than with some other violation types".

"We estimate that fake accounts represented approximately 3-4 per cent of monthly active users on Facebook during Q1 2018 and Q4 2017", the report said. The majority of these Facebook posts dealt with nudity, propaganda, graphic violence, terrorism and hate speech, among other negative content.

Facebook does not fully know why people are posting more graphic violence but believes continued fighting in Syria may have been one reason, said Alex Schultz, Facebook's vice president of data analytics.

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