Facebook Disabled 1 Billion Fake Accounts in the Last Year

Social network also removed millions of posts that violate its community standards, according to new report

Last Updated: May 15, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Facebook continued to give the public a peek behind the curtain, releasing a major report on Tuesday that announced the Silicon Valley company removed more than one billion fake accounts. Facebook also said it purged millions of posts that violate its rules in the last year.

The first-ever “Community Standards Enforcement Report,” a robust 81 pages, details the company’s efforts to weed out unsavory content, including violence and terrorist propaganda. The report accounted for the fourth quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2018.

Here’s a snapshot of the six areas Facebook cracked down on.

Bogus Accounts: Facebook disabled 583 million fake accounts during the Q1 of 2018, and 694 million the quarter before. The social network removed 98.5 percent of these accounts before they were reported in Q1.

Sexual Stuff: Facebook’s relationship with nudity is tricky. The company restricts sexual content and nudity because some users “may be sensitive to this type of content,” according to its guidelines. There are some allowances, however, including protests and works of art. Still, the company removed roughly 42 million pieces of racy content for the two aforementioned quarters — accounting for less than a tenth of a percent of content viewed on Facebook.

Graphic Violence: Facebook took action on 1.2 million pieces of graphic violence during Q4 2017, and 3.4 million during the first quarter of 2018. The company said the spike is due largely to implementing better tools for finding inappropriate content.

“We aim to reduce violations to the point that our community doesn’t regularly experience them,” said Facebook VPs Guy Rosen and Alex Schultz in the report. “We use technology, combined with people on our teams, to detect and act on as much violating content as possible before users see and report it. The rate at which we can do this is high for some violations, meaning we find and flag most content before users do.”

Spam: Nobody likes spam, especially Facebook. The company axed more than 1.5 billion pieces of spam during Q4 of 2017 and Q1 of 2018.

Hate Speech: Facebook removed 2.5 million comments that violate its hate speech rules so far this year — up from 1.6 million at the end of 2017. Facebook defines hate speech “as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease. We also provide some protections for immigration status.”

Terrorist Propaganda: Facebook took down 3 million combined posts of terrorist propaganda during Q4 2017 and Q1 2018. The company said 99.5 percent of these posts are flagged and removed by its internal team before being reported by users.

The report comes on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica data leak, where up to 87 million users had their profiles unknowingly compromised. The company — and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in particular — has been looking to assuage worried users in the last two months, offering a series of mea culpas. Facebook has said it will be more transparent with its 2.2 billion users, offering tools to check with whom the company has shared user data, and a look at its guidelines for banning content.

You can read the full report here.