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Facebook Removed 3.4 Billion Fake Accounts in Last 6 Months

Social network has seen a sharp increase in the number of fake accounts

Facebook has removed nearly 3.4 billion fake accounts between October 2018 and March 2019  — or about 1 billion more bogus accounts than it has actual users — the social network revealed on Thursday morning.

Most of the purged users were removed “within minutes,” Facebook VP Guy Rosen said in a blog post, but the company still estimates 5% of its 2.4 billion monthly users are fake accounts.

Facebook removed 2.19 billion accounts during Q1 2019 and 1.2 billion during the fourth quarter of last year — up from about 1.6 billion accounts that were removed in the six months prior.

“For fake accounts, the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time,” Rosen explained in the post. “We’ll continue to find more ways to counter attempts to violate our policies and Alex Schultz explains more about how we address fake accounts in a Hard Questions blog we’ve also shared today.”

The removed accounts come as Facebook has stepped up its efforts to combat misinformation and unwanted content. Rosen said the company took down 4 million “hate speech” posts during the first quarter — up from the 2.5 million posts that were removed during the same time last year. 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, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability.”

You can read Facebook’s full “Community Standards Enforcement Report” here.