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Facebook Cracks Down On Spam With Improved Tools Against Fake Accounts, But It's An Ongoing Struggle

16 April 2017, 10:05 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
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Fake accounts are plaguing the internet, but Facebook is now better equipped to deal with them, as it announced improved tools to fight spam accounts.

The social networking company has been stepping up its efforts to counter spam and increase security on its platform, and it now has some new changes in store to take things up a notch.

Improved Facebook Fake Account Detection

Facebook has now implemented some technical changes to its platform to more easily address one of the biggest banes of social media: spam accounts. As Facebook's Protect and Care Team manager Shabnam Shaik explains in a new company blog post, Facebook can now detect fake accounts in a more effective manner — even those that look genuine.

To achieve this, Facebook has upgraded its systems to detect fake profiles by looking for certain patterns, such as posting the same thing over and over again or registering a major increase in messaging activity all of a sudden. According to Shaik, Facebook can use these criteria to identify spam profiles without actually snooping on the contents of user posts.

"We've found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way they do in real life, they act responsibly," Facebook explains. "Fake accounts don't follow this pattern, and are closely related to the creation and spread of spam. That's why we're so focused on keeping these inauthentic accounts and their activity off our platform."

Countering Fake News And Spam Profiles

The company reckons that protecting authenticity is no easy task, and it's a continuous challenge, but it remains committed to counter misuse although it's aware that "this work will never be done."

It's a never-ending struggle, but that doesn't mean that Facebook is giving up — on the contrary. The company is constantly building new systems and upgrading its existing ones to better counter abuse, identify and remove spam, detect and delete fake accounts, and protect real accounts from being compromised. Facebook notes that its efforts are also designed to cut down on the distribution of improper content that goes against its policies, as well as other nasty content such as hoaxes, fake news, and other types of misinformation or abuse.

The company further highlights that it's made notable progress in recent years to deal with such matters. The social network made it harder for users to sell fake likes on Facebook and created complex systems to prevent bots from attempting to create fake accounts. In this on-going battle, Facebook says it's getting smarter and better.

Why This Matters

Spam profiles on Facebook are not only annoying, but they also facilitate the distribution of fake or misleading news on the social network, since fake accounts are generally used to share stories from questionable sources. That said, cracking down on fake accounts should also help reduce fake news on the platform.

Thanks to the latest upgrades, Facebook says it managed to kill a massive 30,000 fake accounts in France, just in time for the upcoming presidential elections in the country. Surely 30,000 accounts are just a fraction of Facebook's vast user base of 1.89 billion monthly active users, but it's still something. It remains to be seen whether the new changes will have a major positive impact in the long run.

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