On this Friday, Facebook said it has disrupted an international fake account operation which was creating fake or inauthentic “likes” and fake comments to win friends it then pounds them with spam.
The Facebook’s security team has spent six months fighting to neutralise this coordinated campaign, according to a company security manager, Shabnam Shaik.
Shaik said in a blog post, “Our systems were able to identify a large portion of this illegitimate activity — and to remove a substantial number of inauthentic likes.”
“Since we have disrupted the campaign now, we expect this will prevent the network of spammers from reaching their end goal of sending inauthentic material to a large number of people.”
The ring has used accounts in a number of countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.
The group also tried to mask its activities with some tactics like connecting with social network through some “proxy” servers to disguise where “likes,” posts or other communications are originating, according to Shaik.
Facebook said that this campaign is aimed to trick people into connecting as friends they would later target them with spam. The company said they have derailed the operation early enough to spare users from the fate.
The popular social network said this week that they have started weeding out bogus accounts by watching for suspicious behaviour like repetitive posts or a torrent of messages.
This security improvement was described as being part of a broader effort to rid the leading social network of hoaxes, misinformation and fake news by verifying people’s identities.
“We’ve found that when people represent themselves on Facebook the same way they do in real life, they act responsibly,” Shaik said.
Under pressure to stymie the spread of fake news, Facebook has taken a series of steps including making it easier to report such posts and harder to earn money from them.