Facebook says it purged more than 800 spam accounts, pages

October 12, 2018 by The Associated Press
Facebook says it purged more than 800 spam accounts, pages
In this June 7, 2013, file photo, the Facebook "like" symbol is on display on a sign outside the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook says it has purged more than 800 U.S. pages and accounts for spamming users with garbage links and clickbait. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook said it has purged more than 800 U.S. pages and accounts for spamming users with politically-tinged garbage links and clickbait just weeks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

The banned accounts and Facebook sites exhibited "coordinated inauthentic behavior" such as working together to make the pages appear more popular than they actually are. This, Facebook said, was designed to mislead users about who they are and what they're doing.

The social network said these accounts spread "sensational political content" designed to drive people to ad-laden websites outside Facebook. In the past, such spammers have often focused on celebrity gossip, weight loss remedies and fake iPhones.

Pages Facebook removed fell on both sides on the political spectrum, Facebook said, although it declined to say if there were more on the right or the left. The removed pages included the conservative "Nation in Distress" and the left-wing "Snowflakes," among others with names such as "Reasonable People Unite," ''The Resistance" and "Right Wing News."

Facebook said it doesn't look at the content of the posts and photos that the accounts are spreading, but rather, the "behavior" of the pages—such as whether they are using fake accounts or sending spam—when deciding whether to remove them.

The turn toward politics suggests that spammers are learning from the Russian playbook on how to get riled up and clicking. Facebook has been working to weed out misinformation and election meddling since it acknowledged that Russian agents abused its service in 2016.

But while those actors seemed intent on disrupting elections, Facebook says its latest purge was about accounts trying to make money.

Explore further: Facebook purges 251 accounts to thwart deception

Related Stories

Facebook uncovers new global misinformation operations

August 22, 2018

Facebook has identified and banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages engaged in misleading political behavior, a far larger discovery than a "sophisticated" effort it reported three weeks ago with great fanfare.

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

February 15, 2019

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.