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To curb misinformation, Facebook ramps up efforts to weed out fake profiles

Facebook has ramped up its efforts against fake and bot profiles on the platform. “We’ve made improvements to recognize inauthentic accounts more easily by identifying patterns of activity — without assessing the content itself,” Shabnam Shaik, a technical program manager with Facebook’s Protect and Care Team, wrote in a note published on the platform.

The new changes analyse posting and messaging patterns on the platform to weed out fake profiles. “We’ve found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way they do in real life, they act responsibly. Fake accounts don’t follow this pattern, and are closely related to the creation and spread of spam,” the note further claimed.

The improvement is part of Facebook’s effort to reduce the distribution of misinformation, spam or false news on Facebook. It has been under fire since the 2016 US presidential election for spreading fake news on the platform. Although, Mark Zukerberg has tried to deflect criticism, in the past few months the company has increased its efforts to weed out misinformation and misleading information from the platform.

The social network has made it difficult for spoof domains to buy ads from Facebook’s Audience Network. It has also made it easier to report and share misleading information, using its disputed tag. Last year, Facebook partnered with fact-checking organizations to check the rise of misinformation on the website.

Earlier this month, the company hinted at paying fact-checkers to combat fake news on the platform.

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The social network is also running and funding a media literacy campaign, the Facebook Journalism Project, to “equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.” The company recently also funded CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s News Integrity Initiative to increase trust in journalism.

In a blog post last week, Facebook announced the roll out of yet another media literacy campaign to help users spot fake news and misinformation. For three days, users in the 14 selected countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas saw a message at the top of their newsfeeds, directing them to a list of 10 tips on identifying false news stories, including verifying web addresses, identifying manipulated photos, inspect grammar, spellings, date of publication and sources etc.

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