Saturday, April 15, 2017

Facebook purges thousands of fake accounts that targeted publishers

By Graham Kates, Shanika Gunaratna, Irina Ivanova CBS News April 14, 2017, 1:30 PM

Facebook announced Friday that it had begun to purge “a substantial number” of accounts that it says were fake or spam. The fake accounts, created largely in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and a handful of other countries, attempted to accumulate likes as part of a sophisticated campaign. They did so by “liking” publishers’ pages in order to target their followers with spam.

Facebook issued a statement on Friday warning that as it began to clear out the fake accounts, publishers could expect to see a drop in the likes on their pages. The statement said that most affected pages with more than 10,000 likes would lose a maximum of 3 percent of their likes. Some major news accounts began to see dips in their numbers take effect around Friday lunchtime, with at least one major news account losing tens of thousands of likes.

Facebook said in the statement that the organization had been combating this fake account operation for six months, and that most of the fake accounts had “not been mobilized yet to actually make connections and send spam.”

The announcement came after Facebook said on Thursday that it had taken action against another 30,000 fake accounts in France ahead of upcoming presidential elections there.


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