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Facebook is removing hundreds of American accounts spamming political misinformation

The Verge logo The Verge 10/11/2018 Colin Lecher
a close up of a screen © Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook is taking down hundreds of United States-based accounts and pages, many of which spread political misinformation, for breaking the company’s terms against “inauthentic” content and spam.

The company said in a blog post that 559 pages and 251 accounts would be removed. While the accounts used “sensational political content,” Facebook did not say that was the reason for the purge. Instead, the accounts and pages will be taken down after they had “consistently broken” the company’s rules against gaming its platform. Facebook noted that many used strategies like posting on fake or multiple accounts to generate traffic, or to inflate their popularity. 

Still, Facebook noted the proximity to the US midterm elections, and said that networks like the ones it removed today are “increasingly” promoting political content that is “often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate.” The company said this was the reason it has turned to “behavior” instead of “content” when searching for bad actors.

The removal included accounts like Right Wing News, which The New York Times reports posted false stories about Christine Blasey Ford following her testimony at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

“As we get better at uncovering this kind of abuse, the people behind it — whether economically or politically motivated — will change their tactics to evade detection,” Facebook said in its post. “It’s why we continue to invest heavily, including in better technology, to prevent this kind of misuse. Because people will only share on Facebook if they feel safe and trust the connections they make here.”

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