Facebook removes 559 Pages, 251 accounts for co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour

There are new kind of, smarter, spammers on Facebook, and here’s what you need to know about them.

Facebook has widely been accused and scrutinised for the content it allows on the platform, and particularly the alleged effect it has had on the last US Presidential Election results. Now, ahead of the US mid-term elections, Facebook has announced that it is removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken its rules against spam and ‘co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour’.

Facebook in a recent blog post shares how spammers continue to adapt their behaviour to Facebook’s policies.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

What is co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour?

The coordinated inauthentic behaviour applies to networks of accounts or Pages that are working to mislead others about who they are, and what they are doing. However, Facebook found that a bulk of the inauthentic activity on the platform is typically motivated by money, and not politics.

The most popular kind of spam that has been noted is the one that hawks fraudulent products like fake sunglasses or weight loss remedies. However, the spammers have now upped their game by creating networks of Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names.

“They post clickbait posts on these Pages to drive people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and seem legitimate but are actually ad farms. The people behind the activity also post the same clickbait posts in dozens of Facebook Groups, often hundreds of times in a short period, to drum up traffic for their websites.” Facebook notes.

Why are such accounts banned?

First of all, so that you don’t fall prey to them. Second of all, they cheat and make money out of fooling you. These networks use sensational political or entertainment content to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site.

The “news” shared on these accounts are often indistinguishable from legitimate ones, which generally confuses users into believing in their authenticity.

“Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate,” Facebook notes.

Essentially, the spammers are getting smarter, and more aggressive, and if you want to stick to Facebook, then, besides Facebook upping its policies, you need to be more alert against them as well.

Don’t fall for anything on Facebook that seems ‘too good to be true’, it mostly isn’t!

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