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Facebook Removed 2.2 Billion Fake Accounts in First Quarter

(Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Facebook deleted 2.19 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of this year as part of its efforts to crack down on malicious activity, according to data the company released Thursday. Most of the deleted accounts were caught and removed just minutes after they were created, Facebook said.

“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,” wrote Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen in a blog post.

The data, Rosen wrote, measured Facebook’s effectiveness at combating content it prohibits, including “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.”

Facebook said it detected and removed over 95 percent of such content before a user reported it.

The transparency report is Facebook’s third since the platform came under fire for allowing some users’ personal data to be leaked to third parties not authorized to access it.

Facebook’s troubles mounted last year with the revelation that several data breaches had compromised at least 87 million users’ personal information. The company spent the spring of 2018 doing damage control on both the technological and public-relations fronts, with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying to Congress and promising to do a better job protecting users’ data.

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