Social media giant Facebook has outlined its efforts to fight “inauthentic behavior” on the platform. The company claims that financial gain is the primary motivator for what it describes as “an effort to mislead people.”
In a recently released “inauthentic behavior” report, Facebook outlined some of its recent attempts to prevent the spread of misinformation across its platform. The report outlines attempts often by foreign bodies to influence American users and groups.
Facebook defines inauthentic behavior as “an effort to mislead people or Facebook about the popularity of content, the purpose of a community (i.e.Groups, Pages, Events), or the identity of the people behind it. It also includes behaviors designed to mislead Facebook and evade the controls and limits we place on the use of our platforms.”
Facebook claims that financial motivation is the primary driver behind inauthentic behavior. Facebook claims that those engaging in inauthentic behavior “often use hot-button issues and other spammy lures. They are well-attuned to their target audiences and will quickly pivot to post about the latest viral content or news to deceive people into clicking links to their site.”
Facebook gave examples of some of its efforts to shut down inauthentic behavior on the site, such as the removal of 15 pages and links to at least 850 domains associated with a group called Natural News. Facebook claims that the U.S. based business behind the pages relied on content farms in Macedonia and the Philippines and misled users about the origin and popularity of its content.
Facebook included screenshots of some of the content shared by Natural News that resulted in the company and its CEO being banned from Facebook.
Facebook also removed 655 pages and 12 groups tied to a number of spam networks between August and September 2020. The networks were reportedly based out of Myanmar and misled people about the purpose of their pages using fake accounts to evade Facebook’s limits on posting frequency. The groups reportedly posted content ranging from celebrity gossip to local news with a minority of posts focusing on politics in Myanmar.
Facebook further claims that a number of spammers used the recent protests over the death of George Floyd to promote ad farms and merchandise sites. Facebook wrote: “In May and June 2020, as part of our monitoring for potential IB activity during the US civic protests, we identified and removed a range of inauthentic behavior actors attempting to build audiences by posting viral content from these events. For example, we took down 4 Pages and 13 Groups that were created by several unconnected foreign spam groups from Botswana, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam targeting people in the US for monetization purposes.”
The site added that these pages quickly pivoted to focus on police brutality and Black Lives Matter to encourage users to visit their ad farms and merchandise stores:
In these particular cases, we saw spam actors quickly pivot to leverage topics including racial and social injustice and police brutality in the US to trick people into joining their Groups and following their Pages to then direct them to ad farms or merchandise stores. Our Page transparency tools exposed to the public that the people behind these Pages and their content originated from outside the US.
Read the full report from Facebook here.