Facebook claims progress against fake news after NYT report

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Christophe Morin/IP3 | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc. attends the Viva Tech start-up and technology gathering at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France. 

Facebook on Thursday released its latest report on the removal of harmful content from its services, one day after a bombshell report that detailed how the company avoided and deflected blame in the public conversation around its handling of Russian interference and other misuses of its social network.

The company said it removed more than 1.5 billion fake accounts between April and September, compared to nearly 1.3 billion accounts removed the six months prior. Facebook also removed 5.4 million pieces of hate speech, compared to 4.1 million between October and March.

This Community Standards Enforcement Report is the Facebook’s latest update since its first report, which was released in May.

“Overall, we know we have a lot more work to do when it comes to preventing abuse on Facebook,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook vice president of product management, in a post.

The company also took action on 65.6 million pieces of nude content, compared to 42 million between October and March. Facebook said it also removed 23.3 million graphically violent posts, compared to 4.6 million the six months prior. Facebook took down nearly 2.2 billion pieces of spam, compared to more than 1.5 billion the six months prior.

The company also added bullying and harassment as well as child nudity and sexual exploitation as new categories of harmful content. Between July and September, Facebook removed 2.1 million pieces of bullying and harassment content and 8.7 million pieces of child nudity and sexual exploitation content.

The content removal report comes one day after a report by the New York Times that detailed how COO Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs tried to downplay and spin bad news. Among other things, Facebook worked with Definers Public Affairs, a Washington-based public relations firm, which reportedly wrote dozens of articles criticizing the business practices of rivals Apple and Google while downplaying concerns about Facebook’s own problems.

Facebook also used the agency to press reporters to explore financial connections between liberal financier George Soros and a group that protested Facebook at Congressional hearings in July, the report says.

Facebook ended its relationship with Definers Public Affairs on Wednesday night, the company announced on Thursday.

Last week, Facebook also announced that it had removed more than 12 million pieces of content related to ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliate groups. That was up from 3 million in the six months prior.



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