Exclusive: Facebook targets real harmful networks, using counterfeit playbook

September 16 (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) takes a more aggressive approach to shutting down coordinated groups of real user accounts engaging in certain harmful activity on its platform, using the same strategy as its security teams adopt against campaigns using fake accounts, the company told Reuters.

The new approach, reported here for the first time, uses tactics usually adopted by Facebook security teams to massively shut down networks engaged in influence operations that use fake accounts to manipulate public debate, such as farms. of Russian trolls.

This could have major implications for how the social media giant handles political and other coordinated movements that break its rules, as Facebook’s approach to abuse on its platforms comes under scrutiny. careful attention from global legislators and civil society groups.

Facebook said it now plans to take this same network-level approach with groups of coordinated real accounts that systematically break its rules, through mass reporting, where many users falsely report content or content. account of a target to shut down, or run for, a type of online harassment where users can coordinate to target an individual through mass posts or comments.

In a related change, Facebook said Thursday it would take the same type of approach for real user campaigns that cause “coordinated social damage” on and off its platforms, announcing the removal of anti-restrictions. German COVID Movement Querdenken. Read more

These extensions, which a spokesperson said were in their infancy, mean Facebook’s security teams could identify the main movements behind the behavior and take more drastic action than the company deleting individual posts or accounts, as it would otherwise.

“petty politics around coordinated genuine prejudice.” (https://bit.ly/2XmbHZN)

Facebook’s security experts, who are separate from the company’s content moderators and deal with threats from adversaries trying to evade its rules, began cracking down on influence trades using fake accounts in 2017, following the 2016 US election in which US intelligence officials concluded that Russia had used social media. media platforms as part of a cyber-influence campaign – a claim denied by Moscow.

Facebook has called the activity banned by fake account groups “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB), and its security teams have started announcing massive deletions in monthly reports. Security teams also deal with some specific threats that may not use fake accounts, such as fraud or cyber espionage networks or overt influence operations like certain state media campaigns.

Sources said the company’s teams have long debated how it should intervene at the network level for large movements of real user accounts that consistently break its rules.

In July, Reuters reported on the Vietnamese military’s online information warfare unit, which engaged in actions such as massive reporting of accounts to Facebook, but also often used their real ones. names. Facebook has deleted some accounts as a result of these mass reporting attempts.

Facebook is under increasing pressure from global regulators, lawmakers and employees to tackle large-scale abuses on its services. Others criticized the company for allegations of censorship, anti-conservative bias or inconsistent enforcement.

An expansion of Facebook’s network disruption models to affect genuine accounts raises further questions about how the changes might impact the types of public debate, online movements, and campaign tactics across the spectrum. Politics.

“Most of the time, problematic behaviors will be very close to social movements,” said Evelyn Douek, a Harvard law professor who studies platform governance. “It’s going to depend on this definition of evil … but obviously people’s definitions of evil can be quite subjective and nebulous.” Read more

High-profile cases of coordinated activity around last year’s US election, of teenagers and K-pop fans claiming to have used TikTok to sabotage a rally for former President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to campaigns policies paying memes creators online, have also sparked debates about how platforms should define and approach coordinated campaigns. Read more

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London and Fanny Potkin in Singapore; Editing by Kenneth Li and Nick Zieminski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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