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Why the world that you are living in feels so fake

Fake, fake world
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Fake, fake world

If you've ever had a sneaking suspicion that nothing is like what it seems in the world of social media, then the news this May that Facebook deleted more than 2 billion fake accounts — and that was only over a three-month period — would have come as little surprise to you. In fact, if recent reports from the likes of Facebook and Google are any indication, fake and misleading content are a big menace that social media firms are trying hard to combat.

Reuters
Fake 'Friends' on Facebook
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Fake 'Friends' on Facebook

In the first three months of this year, Facebook deleted as many as 2.2 billion fake accounts, the number having more than tripled from the same period the year before. In contrast, its monthly active user base rose by 8% between the same two periods. Facebook said that a majority of fake accounts it removed were caught within minutes of registration, before they were counted among its monthly active users (MAU) numbers. Thus, the social networking giant has seen the number of fake accounts being registered itself increase from one quarter to the other.

AP
Cambridge Analytica scandal
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Cambridge Analytica scandal

In 2018, Facebook saw its reputation take serious hits in the form of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a data breach involving the theft of logins of 50 million people, but it nonetheless managed to notch an increase in its MAU base between October-December 2017 and the same period in 2018.

As to daily users, the company said there were more than 1.52 billion of them in December 2018, a 9% increase year on year. But the company still has 119 million fake accounts, which is roughly for 5% of its worldwide monthly active users (MAU) at its latest count of 2.38 billion.

Reuters
Twitter contends with bot behaviour
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Twitter contends with bot behaviour

A 2017 study of Twitter bots, which are accounts that can conduct online activity without direct human input, by Pew Research Centre found that such accounts play a big role in sharing links to a wide range of prominent sites.

Pew analysed 2,315 popular websites and about 1.2 million tweets by English language users. In July last year, Twitter said it was removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers, something that saw some users lose thousands of followers.

AFP
Meanwhile, Google's battling with billion of bad ads
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Meanwhile, Google's battling with billion of bad ads

As many as 2.3 billion bad ads was taken down by Google in 2018 for violations of its policies. These include 207,000 ads were for ticket resellers, 531,000 ads for bail bonds and 58.8 million phishing ads. Overall, that’s more than 6 million bad ads removed every day.

Google also identified and terminated almost one million bad advertiser accounts, nearly double the amount it had removed in 2017. .Overall, that’s more than 6million bad ads removed every day.

Source: transparency.facebook.com, blog.google, Pew Research Centre

AFP
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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service