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Facebook Removes 2.2B Bogus Accounts

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Social media giant Facebook said it removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The statistics came through the company’s third content transparency report, a biannual document outlining Facebook’s removal of posts and accounts that violate the company’s policies.

In Q4 of last year, Facebook got rid of 1 billion fake accounts, and removed 583 million in Q1. The company said that most fake accounts are deleted within minutes of being created, so they don’t affect Facebook’s monthly and daily metrics.

“The larger quantities of fake accounts are driven by spammers who are constantly trying to evade our systems,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity. Rosen didn’t say the spam accounts were related to any specific group or entity.

Facebook also said it got rid of upwards of 1.5 million posts that promoted or were engaging in drug and firearm sales. The company wants to eventually report on its removal of other illegal activity as well.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the company is increasing its safety systems budget to make sure it’s doing a good job policing the site.

“The amount of capital that we are able to invest in all of the safety systems that go into what we are talking about today — our budget in 2019 is greater than the whole revenue of our company in the year before we went public in 2012,” he said.

The CEO said he understands that as the company pushes more and more toward privacy, it might be harder to recognize what it deems as harmful content.

“We recognize that it’s going to be harder to find all of the different types of harmful content,” he said. “We’ll be fighting that battle without one of the very important tools, which is, of course, being able to look at the content itself. It’s not clear on a lot of these fronts that we’re going to be able to do as good of a job on identifying harmful content as we can today with that tool.”

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