More than 800 Facebook accounts were recently closed down after the social networking platform discovered that there are many U.S. citizens allegedly creating misleading accounts and pages to promote shocking political news for monetary gain.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook has removed 559 pages and 251 accounts that are “coordinating the spread of misinformation and spam in the U.S.” Many of these accounts reportedly originated in the U.S. The Daily Mail also states that some of these accounts were for “ad farms” and that the Facebook account closures were linked to the upcoming U.S. elections in November.
Facebook issued a statement on Thursday via their blog in relation to the closures.
“The people behind the activity also post the same clickbait posts in dozens of Facebook Groups, often hundreds of times in a short period, to drum up traffic for their websites,” the statement read.
“And they often use their fake accounts to generate fake likes and shares. This artificially inflates engagement for their inauthentic pages and the posts they share, misleading people about their popularity and improving their ranking in news feed.”
As Bloomberg points out, Facebook has previously purged many foreign accounts that were linked to the spread of political misinformation. Of these accounts, many originated from countries such as Russia and Iran. The foreign accounts were usually aimed at “sowing discord in the U.S., setting up protest events and moments of outrage.” The recent local account closures are linked more to accounts used to generate click-throughs and revenue raising, which is an entirely different form of spreading misinformation. However, both kinds of misleading accounts tend to work towards gaming Facebook’s algorithms in order to boost the visibility of their agendas.
The Daily Mail also states that Facebook is determined to create a “war room” in Silicon Valley that is geared entirely towards quickly repelling “efforts to use the social network to meddle in upcoming elections in the U.S. and Brazil.”
With these developed efforts, the Daily Mail claims that Facebook is aiming to fight the sort of activities prior to the 2016 election which saw Donald Trump get sworn in as U.S. president. The war room is designed to develop strategies to scenarios such as “floods of bogus news or campaigns to trick people into falsely thinking they can cast ballots by text message.”
Since the recent spate of interest into Facebook and misleading accounts, the social media giant has, with the help of artificial intelligence software, “blocked nearly 1.3 billion fake accounts between March and October of last year” in an effort to show users how seriously they take this sort of threat.