Facebook has revealed that it removed 1.3 billion fake accounts from the platform in the six month period from October 2017 to March 2018, equivalent to the entire population of India.
In the three months from October to December 2017, Facebook disabled 694 million fake accounts, followed by a further 583 million from January to March 2018.
Yet, the site has not been completely cleansed. Facebook estimates that in Q1 2018, 3 to 4 per cent of its 2.20 billion active monthly users are fake, equating to between 66,000,000 and 88,000,000 accounts.
“Bad actors try to create fake accounts in large volumes automatically using scripts or bots, with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams,” read the new report from the platform titled Community Standards Enforcement Preliminary Report
“The numbers can also be affected by internal factors, including the effectiveness of our detection technology.”
“Our metrics can vary widely for fake accounts acted on, driven by new cyberattacks and the variability of our detection technology’s ability to find and flag them. The decrease in fake accounts disabled between Q4 and Q1 is largely due to this variation.”
The report analysed data surrounding reporting of unsavoury content (i.e. graphic violence, hate speech and spam) and fake accounts.
The platform claims 99.1 per cent of the removed accounts in Q4 2017 were flagged before users reported them. This figure dropped to 98.5 per cent in Q1 2018.