Facebook – the social media giant – is increasing its efforts to remove fake accounts that are used by cybercriminals to spread fake news, falsely boost page rankings, pass along malware and do other activities that can ruin the trust of advertisers and reduce interest of viewers.
Facebook to roll out changes to make it harder to make fake accounts
The security team said in a blog post that the social media giant is in the process of rolling out changes to its technical systems to make it even more difficult to create fake accounts. These include looking for patterns like an increase in messages sent and repeated posts of the same content.
According to the social media giant, its newest changes enabled the social media giant to find and remove more than 30K fake accounts in France. On Thursday, Shabnam Shaik, a technical program manager at Facebook, said in blog post, “By constantly improving our techniques, we also aim to reduce the financial incentives for spammers who rely on distribution to make their efforts worthwhile.”
There are still a small percentage of fake accounts across the social media platform. According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the social networking site has estimated that fake or duplicate accounts represented around 1% of its monthly active users in 2016. The social media giant says that it has around 1.89 billion monthly active users.
Fake accounts “like” both fraudulent and mainstream brands to look credible
According to Cisco, the social media giant’s scams were the most common form of malware distributed in 2015. The social network accounts are commonly made by illicit firms in developing nations and they can be used to sell black-market cyber tools, to send out spam, to “like” businesses or to launch credential-stealing posts in order to make businesses more popular on the social networking site. Also, this is done to potentially boost their rankings on search engines.
These fake accounts are mostly running from countries like India, the Philippines and Pakistan, among others. Some accounts use software and some employ low-cost labor to achieve the same result. Nicholas Hayes, a brand security analyst with Forrester Research, said that the fake account do not just “like” fraudulent and illegal businesses but they “like” mainstream companies and brands as well to make the fake accounts look legitimate.
Hayes says, “Facebook has been working to cut down on this type of fakery for several years but this is “an issue they try to downplay at every turn,” said Hayes. He adds that it is important to remember that users are not the customers, instead advertisers are.