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Facebook Deleted 583 Million Fake Accounts in the First Three Months of 2018 (cnet.com) 75

Facebook said Tuesday that it had removed more than half a billion fake accounts and millions of pieces of other violent, hateful or obscene content over the first three months of 2018. From a report: In a blog post on Facebook, Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said the social network disabled about 583 million fake accounts during the first three months of this year -- the majority of which, it said, were blocked within minutes of registration. That's an average of over 6.5 million attempts to create a fake account every day from Jan. 1 to March 31. Facebook boasts 2.2 billion monthly active users, and if Facebook's AI tools didn't catch these fake accounts flooding the social network, its population would have swelled immensely in just 89 days.

Facebook Deleted 583 Million Fake Accounts in the First Three Months of 2018

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    that would be a good start

    • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:05PM (#56616714)
      What do you call 583 million deleted Facebook accounts? A good start!
      • I swelled immensely just thinking about it.
      • Yeah, my first thought reading this headline was that "Hey, I'll be a nice guy and help them out....I still will NOT ever create an account on there and increase their membership management load."

        I'm happy to help do my part!!

        ;)

        • Not that they care. They have a shadow profile on you already.

          • They don't have a profile on me. I am connected to the internet through multiple VPNs, an onion router, I ... huh, I just got an e-mail for a great deal on a VPN provider, cool beans!
          • They have a shadow profile of you, if you have a friend with a Facebook account, who allows the "find friends" feature of the Facebook app to download contact information that includes you. It will be interesting to see how this plays out after May 25, when the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into effect and becomes enforceable.
          • by geoskd ( 321194 )

            Not that they care. They have a shadow profile on you already.

            I have at least 4 fake Facebook profiles. Every time I need to log in to one of those idiotic sites that uses facebook to authenticate, I create another fake facebook account and use it to sign up. (It helps that I have a domain that I can send any email I want to). I just intercept the first email to verify the account and then blackhole the address. I do not have a "real" facebook account, as I dont use the service, but i would be willing to bet that facebook considers each and every one of my accounts to

        • Don't worry. Someone already created an account in your name. You can guarantee it wasn't one of the 583 million that were just deleted. It will safely continue spearphishing all your family, friends, former schoolmates and colleagues for years. Great job proving that inaction can be worse than malicious action.

  • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:04PM (#56616704)

    Now if Facebook would just disable the other 2.2 billion accounts, we'd be getting somewhere.

  • God I hate CNET (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrankOVD ( 4965439 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:14PM (#56616784)
    Thanks for the news, but I gotta say I hate CNet's habit of throwing you an auto play video every time you click on a link. I'm on a slow wi-fi network and just closing the floating window doesn't stop the audio, which you can't pause until the embedded video is loaded and you find it. I wonder why they keep being this annoying. I was a fan of their website before that but then I turned my back to them because I felt like they didn't care about User Experience at all. Feels good speaking about it.
    • I used to love CNET back in 1996 to 1998. Today, it's just another shitting website. Just when you think the layout couldn't be worse...

  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:18PM (#56616824) Homepage Journal

    I also considered "NOT a real penalty" as the Subject.

    So let's start with the question of "Why?"

    Because a fresh fake identity is extremely valuable. It starts out with the polite respect most of us accord to any stranger. The sock puppet loses nothing by getting nuked, but polite and civil discourse was destroyed first.

    Solution approach: Use EPR (Earned Public Reputation) to make fake identities less valuable. Actually, the default visibility setting can be calibrated against the number of fake identities that are being created (among other factors). If visibility has to be earned by sustained niceness and if bad behaviors are remembered and suitably penalized (with reduced visibility), then the social environment would be greatly improved.

    Yes, even on Slashdot. One way to think of EPR is as enhanced karma with teeth attached.

    ADSAuPR, atAJG, but even better if you have a better solution or solution approach to discuss. The typical responses on Slashdot these years are just bits of shallow snark, sometimes followed by a trickle of ideas worth thinking about...

    (I increasingly feel that's yet another time-related problem, mostly caused by the uniform cycle time of the top page. One solution there would be variable descent speeds, with more significant stories falling more slowly--but that presumes Slashdot had an economic model that actually supported sustained improvement. ( in Japanese.))

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:52PM (#56617060) Homepage Journal

      If visibility has to be earned by sustained niceness and if bad behaviors are remembered and suitably penalized (with reduced visibility), then the social environment would be greatly improved.

      That sounds suspiciously like the suppression of free speech.

      Instead of enforcing some nebulous universal value-of-people, why not let individuals choose what they would like to see and hear?

      That way I can listen to whoever I want, and you don't have to concern yourself with whether the person I'm listening to has good social standing or not.

      • There seem to be three primary candidates as explanations for your reply:

        (1) You didn't understand what I wrote, but can't figure out how to write a relevant or useful question.

        (2) You have infinite time and don't care how you spend it.

        (3) You had nothing to say, but had to say something.

        In Case (1), please feel free to ask for clarification. I certainly have to acknowledge being a poor writer. Too easy for me to think the implications are obvious even when the local context is insufficient. One of the secr

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The real problem is that the tools provided to decide who you listen to are inadequate and very difficult to build.

        The average person probably doesn't want to listen to Russian propaganda on Facebook. What tools are there to help them do that? How much effort and technical ability do they require?

    • Sounds like you've put some thought into this. I often think how public forums could be improved as a good one can offer so much value. I find it odd that this problem still hasn't been solved yet. Slashdot makes a reasonable attempt, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.
      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I'm not saying it would be easy. I think it has to be a multidimensional thing with orthogonal dimensions that also evolve over time. I also think the dimensions should be tilted towards niceness, in that it should be easier to say encouraging words while discouraging words should call for evidence or justification... And yet I cling to hope of a better world (soon enough for me to benefit).

        • The hard part is scale. Smaller forums tend to self manage as most people behave in small groups. As soon as you get big, the monkeysphere limits kicks in the manners go out the window. The challenge is effective and consistent moderation in large groups, maybe AI will solve this soon?
          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            I agree with you that this is one way to conceive of the problem. From the perspective you have chosen, EPR will allow you to control the scale by giving priority to the nicer people. Among all of the strangers you meet you could focus on the ones most deserving of your time and attention. Actually, that could be an interesting way to handle the visibility threshold: Set my current visibility so that I only see 100 people in each venue. (Staying below Dunbar's Number?) Long ago I actually formulated that as

    • ADSAuPR, atAJG

      Could you write this out in full, please?

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Thanks for asking. ADSAuPR, atAJG stands for Additional Detailed Suggestions Available upon Polite Request, as the Ancient Joke Goes.

        Want to ask? I'm still suffering from delusions of grand solutions.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @04:23PM (#56616854)

    Facebook boasts 2.2 billion monthly active users, and if Facebook's AI tools didn't catch these fake accounts flooding the social network, its population would have swelled immensely in just 89 days.

    This assumes that account creation rate is independent of the account deletion rate, with no justification and for no particular reason, other than to cap the submission summary text with a de rigueur derf derf.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When they asked me to provide an ID with my fake name(nickname), I made a fake ID in photoshop, took a picture of it and sent it, now my fake name account is verified as legit.

    • Congratulations, now you violated Federal Law as well as the Facebook TOS!

      • by jetkust ( 596906 )

        Congratulations, now you violated Federal Law as well as the Facebook TOS!

        Looks like he'll have to permanently change his name to "nickname".

      • Congratulations, now you violated Federal Law as well as the Facebook TOS!

        Your assuming the GP is in the same legal jurisdiction as you, which is quite strange given that this an international forum.

  • All their trolling and stalking accounts have been deleted, oh noes! xD xD xD
  • You know, before they got strict.

    I never use it, but it makes me happy to know I got one over on them.

  • So If I should direct my AI chat bot at Faceplant and they don't delete the account does it pass the Turing test?

    Once account is created I could then start feeding it fake information on location, web browsing, nose picking, slashdot posts, personal interactions, take out orders, credit reports and a plethora of other useless information to maintain my bots humanist endeavor.

    Or is this the bot?

    Muhahahahaha
  • "Facebook boasts 2.2 billion monthly active users, and if Facebook's AI tools didn't catch these fake accounts flooding the social network, its population would have swelled immensely in just 89 days."

    I have ~four Facebook accounts but only three I keep track of but I use them over each others as I get banned and Facebook definitely haven't removed any of them meaning they let me have at-least three accounts.

    From the part about one could kinda see some speculation about how 600 million more accounts on top

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