The social network has got rid of tens of thousands of fake accounts in its attempt to dismantle a sophisticated global spam operation. Facebook confirmed that it had been working to disrupt a network for 6 months, cracking on “inauthentic likes and comments”. The company found out that accounts allegedly operated by users from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and other countries, which liked and commented on publishers’ pages, were part of the same coordinated spam operation. Facebook explained that the accounts had been created not en masse, but through “more sophisticated means” in order to try and disguise the link between them.
Spammers also used proxies to disguise their true location. The goal of those accounts was to deceptively gain new friend connections by liking and interacting with popular publisher pages on Facebook, and then send out spam. Many of them have been left dormant – the company suggests they had not been mobilized yet to actually make connections and send spam to users.
By disrupting the spam campaign, Facebook expects that it will prevent it from reaching its end goal of sending inauthentic content to large numbers of users. Facebook reminds that fake accounts are widely used to create and spread spam on its networks, which is one of the reasons for its real-name policy.
The company recently announced improvements to its ability to detect even convincing fake accounts by tracking the patterns of their activity, without assessing the content itself. It detects giveaways like the same content posted multiple times through automated pattern-recognition.
Facebook also suspended 30,000 French accounts a few days ago. News outlets comment on the suspensions, saying they were motivated in part by the need to crack down on the spread of misinformation ahead of the elections.