Facebook nixes billions of fake accounts

Facebook on Wednesday said it has taken down some 5.4 billion fake accounts this year in a sign of the persistent battle on social media against manipulation and misinformation.

Amid growing efforts to create fraudulent accounts, Facebook said it has stepped up its defenses and often removes the accounts within minutes of being created.

“We have improved our ability to detect and block attempts to create fake, abusive accounts,” the internet firm said in its latest transparency report.

“We can estimate that every day, we prevent millions of attempts to create fake accounts using these detection systems.”

Facebook believes that fake accounts — where someone pretends to be a person or entity which does not exist — represented about five percent of its worldwide active users during the second and third quarters of this year.

The social network has invested heavily in finding and taking down accounts crafted to deceive people about where information is originating, particular when spread as part of coordinated campaigns with political or social agendas.

The detailed report also showed that government demands for user information hit a new high led by the US.

Overall request by governments for Facebook user data rose 16 percent to 128,617 in the first half of this year.

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