Facebook says it has started rooting out 30,000 bogus accounts linked to France ahead of the country’s presidential election.
The security improvement is part of a worldwide effort to rid the leading social network of hoaxes, misinformation, and fake news by making sure people are who they claim to be.
“We’ve found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way they do in real life, they act responsibly,” Shabnam Shaik of the Facebook protect and care team said in a blog post.
“Fake accounts don’t follow this pattern, and are closely related to the creation and spread of spam.”
In France, the new tactic has already resulted in Facebook taking action against 30,000 accounts believed to be fakes, Shaik said.
“We’ve made improvements to recognize these inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity — without assessing the content itself,” Shaik said.
“With these changes, we expect we will also reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts.”
Under pressure to inhibit the spread of fake news, Facebook has taken a series of steps including making it easier to report such posts and harder to make money from them.
It said its efforts “enabled us to take action” against the French accounts and that it is removing sites with the highest traffic.
Facebook and French media are also running fact-checking programs in France to combat misleading information, especially around the campaign for the two-round April 23-May 7 presidential election.
European authorities have also pressured Facebook and Twitter to remove extremist propaganda or other postings that violate European hate speech or other laws.