In a recent blog post published by Facebook, They have said that they have deleted over 251 individual accounts and over 559 Facebook pages that were abusing the social network in an attempt to make people visit websites that make money from adverts, these are often referred to as “fake news” or “click bait” and have been a major issue on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for many, many years, with the severity ramping up to a boiling point in recent years.
In this day and age, the methods of the scammer have changed, where at one point they leveraged celebrities or recent disasters to manipulate people into visiting their sites, they now leverage politics, relying on the already eccentric state of the political sphere to have a level of “that DOES sound like something he/she would say/do” to be able to claim ridiculous statements in an attempt to drive traffic.
The method of finding out which pages are spammers was done on a behavioural basis over a content analysis basis, which allowed for Facebook to find the common patterns these spammers used and apply it site-wide, claiming that it helped to find the pages and people who have had “consistently broken our rules against spam and co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour”.
Did Facebook Overdo it?
While the method that Facebook used did find and remove a very large portion of the spamming pages, and the idea was to get rid of as many as possible, there has been controversy regarding this. Some of the pages removed had been present on Facebook for many years and had a large following, meaning there has been many legitimate political pages hit alongside the others, many people, such as Chris Metcalf, just woke up one day to realise that his page had been deleted, and have been left puzzled by the decision.
“I am a legitimate political activist. I don’t have a clickbait blog. I don’t have a fake news website,” Chris Metcalf told the Washington Post yesterday.
Chris came on record to say that if Facebook could explain the terms he was apparently not following, he would be happy to abide by them in the future.
President Trump – And His View
Trump, who is a strong advocate of free speech and not manipulating facts, if he is to be believed, has come out and warned these technology and social media websites to be “careful” regarding how they treat political topics on their platform, with him having concerns about the perceived political bias these platforms could have towards a single political party.
So, do you think this was a good move on Facebooks end? Or was this not the best solution to the problem of spam on Facebook? With many seemingly legitimate pages caught in the crossfire of this ban wave, it does beg the question: did Facebook go too far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!