It’s not unusual for bad actors to spread misinformation, spam, and other harmful material on Facebook. However, much of that content increasingly originates in foreign countries seeking to influence political outcomes here in the U.S. In response, Facebook has become more alert in recent years to these threats. For example, this week, the social media giant announced that it took down a network of fake accounts from China that were impersonating American users and posting about politics.
According to a report from Facebook parent company Meta, the campaign targeted political leaders on both sides of the aisle with the goal of stoking anger.
“What we’re really looking for is people who are trying to corrupt public debate, they’re trying to sow confusion,” Meta global threat intelligence lead Ben Nimmo told NBC News. “They’re trying to spread false stories [that] mess up the democratic conversation that goes on all the time. And our job is to find them and stop them being able to do it and just keep the conversation safe.”
Nimmo also said that the company has vastly improved its defensive capabilities since 2016, working in tandem with news organizations, other social media platforms, and open-source institutions. However, even though that may be true, there are many examples of bad actors that Facebook has failed to catch, proving that its work is never really finished when it comes to protecting users.
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