Facebook deleted 30,000 fake accounts in France

Facebook deleted 30,000 fake accounts in FranceFacebook on Thursday announced it had it suspended 30,000 accounts in France in its continued fight against fake news, with just nine days before the French election.

The U.S. social media giant announced a range of new security improvements, created to target "deceptive material, such as false news, hoaxes, and misinformation".

Facebook singled out France as a country where it had been implementing the new measures.

"In France, for example, these improvements have enabled us to take action against over 30,000 fake accounts," Shabnam Shaik, a Facebook security team manager, wrote in an official blog post.

"While these most recent improvements will not result in the removal of every fake account, we are dedicated to continually improving our effectiveness," he added.

It explained that this had been possible by automatic detection of pages that were repeatedly posting the same content or sending continuous spam messages.

"We've found that a lot of false news is financially motivated, and as part of our work to promote an informed society, we have focused on making it very difficult for dishonest people to exploit our platform or profit financially from false news sites using Facebook," the statement said.

With the presidential election taking place in just nine days, many have seen it as a priority to prevent the very modern plague of fake news stories on Facebook from influencing the election.

In late February, a group of 37 French and international media outlets, supported by Google, launched "CrossCheck", a joint fact-checking platform aimed at detecting fake information which could affect the French presidential election.

"We need to give voters all the cards in their hand so they don't vote on the basis of false rumours," Clémence Lemaistre from French newspaper Les Echos, one of the partners in CrossCheck said at the time of the launch.

"It's important for democracy. We don't want people to vote on the basis of something they happened to read on Facebook," she added.
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