Facebook Axed 583 Million Fake Accounts, Enforcing Standards

Facebook Axed 583 Million Fake Accounts, Enforcing Standards

Foto: Fotolia

Facebook said it took down 583 million fake profiles in the first three months of the year, usually within minutes of their creation, according to Bloomberg.

The social network also scrubbed 837 million pieces of spam and acted on 2.5 million instances of hate speech, the company said in its first-ever report on how effectively it’s enforcing community standards. The report, which will come out twice a year, can also show how well Facebook’s artificial intelligence systems learn to flag items that violate the rules before anyone on the site can see them.

The conclusion from the first metrics: some problems are better suited to computerized solutions than others. Almost 100 percent of the spam and 96 percent of the adult nudity was flagged for takedown, with the help of technology, before any Facebook users complained about it. But only 38 percent of hate speech was noticed by the AI. Hate speech is harder to deal with because computers often can’t understand the meaning of a sentence, such as the difference between someone using a racial slur to attack somebody, and someone telling a story about that slur.

The numbers also illustrate how frequently people try to exploit Facebook. The company is constantly in the process of taking down fake accounts. In the fourth quarter, it removed 694 million, and the numbers don’t take into account the millions of people who tried and failed to set up accounts. Facebook still estimates that fake profiles represent 3 percent to 4 percent of monthly active users.

While AI is getting more effective at flagging content, Facebook’s human reviewers still have to finish the job. A photo with nudity may be porn, or it may be art, and human eyes can usually tell the difference. The company expects to have 20,000 people working on security and content moderation by the end of the year.

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