“It is tempting to think about misinformation as a single challenge that can be solved with a single solution. But unfortunately, that’s not the case,” Guy Rosen said in preparation for the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s upcoming examination of the way tech platforms are tackling misinformation online. Rosen, who is Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, contends that tackling misinformation requires addressing several challenges including fake accounts, deceptive behavior, and misleading and harmful content.
Tackling fake accounts
In an update to the approaches taken by the social media giant to counter misinformation, Rosen said the platform blocks millions of fake accounts every day, most of them at the time of creation. Over 1.3 billion fake accounts were blocked between October and December of 2020.
Facebook also investigates and takes down covert foreign and domestic influence operations that rely on fake accounts. The tech giant has removed more than 100 networks of coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) from its platform over the past three years. Additionally, the Facebook team has built teams and systems to detect and take action against inauthentic behavior tactics behind clickbait content, dismantling the economic incentive structure behind it. The platform also utilizes artificial intelligence to help detect fraud and take action against inauthentic spam accounts.
The spread of misinformation
One of the most prevalent problems on social media is the rise of dis/misinformation. Rosen said that in order to combat this issue, a global network of over 80 independent fact-checkers has been built, and they review content in more than 60 languages. When a fact checker rates something as false, its distribution is reduced so fewer people see it. A warning label is also added with more information for anyone who come across it. When a warning screen is placed on a post, 95% of the time people don’t click to view it, according to Rosen.
“Over the past several years, we have invested in protecting our community and we now have over 35,000 people working on these challenges,” he said.
Facebook also notifies the person who posted it and also reduces the distribution of Pages, Groups, and domains that repeatedly share misinformation. As for serious issues like COVID-19, vaccines and elections, content that promotes false claims is removed.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Rosen said the tech giant has used its AI systems to remove COVID-19-related material that has been flagged as misinformation by global health experts. As a result, over 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines have been removed. Facebook also connects people to reliable information from trusted experts.