With a mind blowing 754 million fake accounts blocked in the third quarter of this year, Facebook confirmed in its latest Community Standard Report that they have blocked a total of over 2.3 billion accounts since the beginning of 2018. These are not numbers you could play at online bingo in the UK, but this is undoubtedly a record high figure that still doesn’t include the number of removals taking place in the last quarter of the year.
For the least informed, the “Community Standard Report” is a document that the company led by well-known Mark Zuckerberg, one of the richest men in the world, publishes every three months. This file describes all actions taken by the company to provide users of the famous social network a more pleasant and safer experience, as Facebook was the center of various controversies in recent months all around the world, starting with the Cambridge Analytica case that also had severe repercussions on the value of Facebook shares on stock markets.
In its report, Facebook points out that the 2.3 billion blocked accounts are only a part of the suspicious movements occurring on the social network. In fact, in the document you can read that this figure does not include attempts to create false accounts being blocked right at the beginning when the platform finds it impossible to recognize the identity of the user who is trying to sign up.
The Menlo Park (California)-based company also estimates that active fake accounts make up about 3-4% of the total monthly users on Facebook. This is a figure that remained stable over most of the past year, but that could undergo major changes based on two factors.
The first is the increase or decrease in the number of cyber-attacks occurring on the platform. “Bad actors try to create fake accounts in large volumes automatically using scripts or bots, with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams,” says Facebook in the Community Standard Report. The second factor is the effectiveness of regular checks carried out by the social network itself.
The latest Community Standard Report also includes more data on illegal content. Since the beginning of the year, almost three billion posts have been reported for spam, a disturbing number of 14 million for terrorist propaganda, almost 90 million for explicit images. Facebook also removed 9 million pieces of hate speech content, blocked another 2 million for bullying and 9 million for child abuse.
There is one last curious fact about Zuckerberg and Facebook that came out in the last days. During their latest online press conference, organized to explain progress made in controlling content and to announce important news, the inventor of the most successful social network said he thought to suspend Facebook services on several occasions, in 2010 and then again a few months ago, to defend the privacy of people involved in the leakage of data by hackers. Zuckerberg then pointed out that this possibility would have affected only a limited number of users and that, so far, it has never been carried out.