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Facebook found millions of fake followers of the 2018 US election: a note



  • A former Facebook employee wrote a note revealing a number of stunning Facebook failures to effectively deal with political disinformation around the world, BuzzFeed News reported on Monday.
  • In a note, data scientist Sophie Zhang claims that Facebook has removed “10.5 million false reactions and fans from high-ranking politicians in Brazil and the United States in the 2018 elections,” according to BuzzFeed News.
  • Zhang also said that Facebook had focused mostly on the United States and Western Europe, citing a manager’s comment that: “most of the world outside the West was practically the Wild West with [Zhang] as a part-time dictator. “
  • Facebook is facing growing criticism, while at the same time facing its biggest challenge so far ahead of the 2020 US presidential election and dozens of competitions around the world.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang has detailed numerous examples of the company̵

7;s failures to deal effectively with political disinformation around the world in a bubble note received by BuzzFeed News.

One of Zhang’s many revelations: the scale of the inauthentic activity surrounding the 2018 US election is greater than Facebook revealed before.

“We eventually eliminated 10.5 million false reactions and fans from high-ranking politicians in Brazil and the United States in the 2018 elections – key politicians of all persuasions in Brazil and a number of lower-level politicians in the United States,” she said in a note. , according to BuzzFeed News.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the note or the degree of inauthentic behavior during the 2018 US election.

Zhang, who for nearly three years helped Facebook detect and deal with things like “fake engagements” and “election-influencing bots,” according to her LinkedIn profile, revealed a Facebook model that didn’t have enough resources. to deal with the scope of misinformation about a site and as a result focus on specific parts of the world and types of content.

“There have been so many misconduct worldwide that it has been left to my personal judgment which cases to investigate further,” Zhang wrote, saying the company tends to care more about “priority regions like the United States and Western Europe.” reported BuzzFeed News.

However, Zhang’s statement details the efforts of both government officials and malicious participants to run elections in countries other than the United States, including Honduras, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, India, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil – despite that she said the company did not take action so aggressively in these cases.

Zhang also said, according to BuzzFeed News, that Facebook has placed more emphasis on tackling “spam” and issues that are likely to cause the company a PR headache, instead of guaranteeing the integrity of elections in smaller countries, telling her. that “human resources are limited” when she called on the company to do more about political disinformation.

The note shows that Facebook continues to face huge challenges when it comes to dealing with misinformation, especially on political and social issues, although it faces growing criticism for its slow and inconsistent responses to recent events such as the deadly Kenosha shootings. and false allegations of a postal vote by US President Donald Trump.


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