Facebook Cracks Down on Networks of Fake Pages and Groups

WIRED | 1/23/2019 | Louise Matsakis
malik778 (Posted by) Level 3
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Pages and groups are the tools Facebook misinformation peddlers love the most. Creating a network of anonymous pages is one of the easiest ways to quickly spread fake news or propaganda on the social network. This tactic has most famously been used by Russian trolls—even long after the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this month, Facebook took down a cohort of deceptive pages linked to Russian state media. Now, the social network has changed its policies to better enable cracking down on not just individual pages, but entire networks of fraudulent pages and groups.

Facebook has historically played Whac-A-Mole when it comes to systems of fraudulent pages, even when they’re run by the same person. If a troll runs two fake news pages but only one of them violates Facebook’s policies, the company can’t take down the other until it breaks the rules as well. That loophole has allowed propagandists to simply shift their efforts to other existing pages after Facebook closes down one arm of their operation. But starting today, the social network will begin removing entire factions of pages and groups, even when not all of them have individually met Facebook’s criteria to be removed.

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In a blog post announcing the change, Facebook said it “may now also remove other Pages and Groups with similar names that are maintained by the same person, even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own.”

In some situations, the social network has already gotten more aggressive with networked pages; in August of last year for example, Facebook expunged a band of inauthentic pages that appeared to have originated in Iran. It's also repeatedly removed coordinated trolling efforts from Russia. But under the new policy, the company won't need to demonstrate infractions from every single page to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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