Facebook removed 2.2 billion fake accounts between January and March 2019, bringing the total of accounts disabled to more than 3 billion over a six-month period, which includes Q4 2018 data, according to the company’s Community Standards Enforcement report published Thursday.
The social network says the number of removed accounts has doubled over the past six months, while approximately 5% of monthly active accounts are believed to be fake. According to Facebook statistics, there were 2.38 billion monthly active users on March 31, 2019.
Fake accounts on Facebook are not necessarily harmful, explains Alex Schultz, VP of Analytics.
“The number for fake accounts actioned is very skewed by simplistic attacks, which don’t represent real harm or even a real risk of harm,” he writes. “Because we remove these accounts so quickly, they are never considered active and we don’t count them as monthly active users.”
“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,” reads the report.
“The health of the discourse is just as important as any financial reporting we do, so we should do it just as frequently,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview with CNN. “Understanding the prevalence of harmful content will help companies and governments design better systems for dealing with it. I believe every major internet service should do this.”
Facebook has built an AI algorithm to identify content that violates community standards, containing content associated with adult nudity and sexual activity, bullying and harassment, child nudity and sexual exploitation of children, fake accounts, hate speech, regulated goods, spam, global terrorist propaganda and violence and graphic content.
The social network says it can now identify 65% of hate speech content. Facebook says it has actually removed 4 million hate speech posts and is now working to detect hate speech in multiple languages. Some 900,000 posts related to drug sales and approximately 670,000 related to firearm sales were discarded as well.