Facebook ramps up efforts to quash fake accounts

Facebook is uplifting efforts to execute bogus accounts used to transmit fabricated news, pass along malware and dishonestly boost page rankings, exercise that can deceive its advertisers’ views of user importance.

The Facebook club is in the procedure of rolling out changes to its technical structure to compuse it harder to create fictitious accounts, its security team said in in a blog post. These include looking for arrangements such as repeated posts of the same content or an boost in messages sent.

Facebook said that its newest changes grants it to find and kill off more than 30,000 fake accounts in France.

“By constantly improving our techniques, we also aim to reduce the financial incentives for spammers who rely on distribution to make their efforts worthwhile,” Shabnam Shaik, a technical program manager at Facebook, wrote in a post on Thursday.

That’s still a small percentage of these accounts across the platform. Facebook estimated that duplicate or fake accounts represented 1% of its monthly active users in 2016, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange commission. The company says it has 1.89 billion monthly active users.

Facebook accounts are typically created by illicit firms in developing nations. The accounts can be used to send out spam, to sell black-market cyber tools, to launch credential-stealing posts or to “like” businesses in order to make them more popular on the site and also potentially to boost their rankings on search engines.

Facebook scams were the most common form of malware distributed in 2015, according to Cisco.

These account farms typically have been run from countries such as Pakistan, India and the Philippines among others. Some employ low-cost labor and some use software to achieve the same result.

The fake accounts don’t just “like” fraudulent businesses. To make the fake accounts appear legitimate, they also “like” mainstream brands and companies, said Nicholas Hayes, a brand security analyst with Forrester Research.

This, in turn, can mean those companies might appear to be illicitly attempting to increase their standing in Facebook’s algorithm when they actually are not.

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.

At stake is an important Facebook income stream — advertising sold to companies who seek higher followers and engagement from their sponsored posts.

Facebook has become a vital area for advertisers, but they must trust the platform if they are to continue paying for the access to customers they believe it brings them.

Remember that users are not the customers……………

Sparsh Grover

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