Social Media

Facebook cracks down on fake engagement

Facebook’s newest measure to combat disinformation and misuse of its services is a push to rid the social network of malicious, potentially state-sponsored “information operations.” The company, which published a report on the subject today, defines these operations as government-led campaigns — or those from organized “non-state actors” — to promote lies, sow confusion and chaoses among opposing political groups, and destabilize movements in other countries. The goal of these operations, the report says, is to manipulate public opinion and serve geopolitical ends.

Facebook is waging war against fake Likes, and the results have been profitable. According to Facebook site integrity engineer Matt Jones, the social network has obtained nearly $2 billion in legal judgments against spammers.

Spammers tempt unknowing businesses with schemes to boost their Facebook audience by purchasing Likes. These offers, which often promise thousands of Likes for mere dollars, are delivered by creating fake accounts or hacking into real accounts and using them to spread spam, Jones said. Because these paid-for users aren’t real, Pages end up doing less business on Facebook.

Facebook aims to do so by recognizing patterns of activity which point towards an account being fake such as someone repeatedly posting the same content. These changes have already proved successful. They have allowed the company to recognize and eliminate more than 30,000 fake accounts in France.

In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016, Facebook estimated that fake/duplicate accounts represented approximately 1% of its active user base. Considering the fact that the social networking platform has 1.89 billion monthly active users, there are still a lot of fake accounts out there which need eradication.

Facebook is banning misleading uses of its live video format. The company tells TechCrunch that it’s adding a section to its Live API Facebook Platform Policy that reads “Don’t use the API to publish only images (ex: don’t publish static, animated, or looping images), or to live-stream polls associated with unmoving or ambient broadcasts.”

Videos that violate the policy will have reduced visibility on Facebook, and publishers that repeatedly break the rule may have their access to Facebook live restricted. TechCrunch called on Facebook to crack down on fake “Live” videos back in January after it announced a list of the top 10 Live videos of 2016 — half of which weren’t really Live but instead just polls or countdowns on a static background. As a strong social media marketing company in Kolkata Facebook is getting its share of checks as well.


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