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Facebook puts fake accounts on its most-wanted list

The social network rolls out changes to identify fake accounts that promote fake news.


Facebook is targeting fake news through fake user accounts.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Facebook is taking aim at fake news, and part of that hunt is snuffing out fake user accounts.

The company said Thursday it is rolling out changes to its systems to make it more difficult to create sham accounts that promote fake news. The aim is to recognize patterns of activity, such as repeated posting of the same content or an increase in messages sent.

Facebook said the changes allowed it to identify and eliminate more than 30,000 fake accounts in France.

"By constantly improving our techniques, we also aim to reduce the financial incentives for spammers who rely on distribution to make their efforts worthwhile," Shabnam Shaik, a technical program manager at Facebook, wrote in a Facebook post.

The abundance of fake news on the internet in the leadup to President Donald Trump's victory last year has become a hot-button issue, entangling tech giants like Facebook and Google. Numerous allegations have been made that the fake news shared on the social networks helped Trump win.

On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg likened the fake-news problem to how click-bait articles used to proliferate on the social network. Instead of becoming the arbiters of what was or wasn't click-bait, Zuckerberg's team trained computers to learn from the community.

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