Facebook Deletes Hundreds of Pages, Accounts for Spreading Fake News

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Facebook said that numerous pages and accounts had posted political clickbait across multiple fake accounts to drive users to their websites, where they were often targeted with ads.

A hot potato: Facebook has deleted hundreds of accounts over the last few months for spreading political misinformation and fake news, but while the vast majority of these had Russian or Iranian origins, the latest removals were all US-based accounts and pages.

Facebook on Thursday said it was getting rid of more than 800 pages and accounts for overwhelming users with politically motivated content that broke the social media company's spam rules.

Facebook also removed 66 accounts and pages run by a Russian company allegedly selling users' data. "Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate".

In a blog post announcing the bans - which is a remarkably un-Facebook thing to do - Facebookers Nathaniel Gleicher and Oscar Rodriguez explain that the move comes ahead of the midterm elections.

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According to The New York Times, the removed accounts included Right Wing News - a page that sometimes spread fake news with a right-wing slant - as well as the left-wing pages Resistance and Reverb Press.

Oscar Rodriguez, a Product Manager at Facebook, said that United States midterm elections played a big part in the removal of these pages and accounts.

But now they are turning toward political content to drive traffic to their websites. "This is why it's so important we look at these actors' behavior - such as whether they're using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam - rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove".

The company did say that part of the reason why it revealed details on the removals was the upcoming United States midterms, which are only a few weeks away.

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