Facebook removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in three months

May 23, 2019
| Report Focus News
This photo illustration taken on March 23, 2018 shows Facebook logos on a computer screen in Beijing. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook banned a shocking number of 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first three months of 2019 — almost as many as the total number of real people who use the social network.

 “We’ve seen a steep increase in the creation of abusive, fake accounts on Facebook in the last six months,” the company said in its community standards enforcement report

“We catch most of these accounts within minutes of registration. However, automated attacks have resulted in more of these accounts making it past our initial detection, which increased prevalence.” In the fourth quarter of 2018, Facebook removed about 1.2 billion fake accounts from the platform. 

Facebook estimated that at any given time fake accounts comprise about 5 percent of its 2.4 billion monthly active users. The report also illustrated the efforts Facebook has taken to enforce other content policies as well as the massive scale of abuse that the company must monitor and crack down on. 

Facebook has reported a steady increase in the amount of hate speech it cracks down on. In the first quarter, it removed 4 million pieces of content it deemed had violated its prohibition against hate speech, compared with 3.3 million in the last quarter of 2018. 

The social network attributes the increase to the investments it has made in artificial intelligence designed to detect hate speech. And for the first time, Facebook included a section in the report detailing its efforts to eliminate the sale of guns and drugs from the platform. Between January and March, the company removed 900,000 posts violating its drug policy and 670,000 posts violating its firearms policy.