Facebook said it had removed more than 3 billion fake accounts between October and March, a spike in inauthentic activity that the tech giant attributed to "unsophisticated" bad actors that are caught while creating scores of fake profiles in batches.
Facebook revealed the new figure Thursday as part of its updated transparency report, which offered fresh insight into the social-networking company's ongoing battle to stop the spread of hate speech, graphic photos and videos, and other abusive content on its platform.
Facebook said that the billions of accounts it removed over the six-month period were "never considered active", so they did not count toward the company's total number of monthly active users, a figure that investors track closely to chart Facebook's popularity and growth. In the first quarter of this year, Facebook reported that it had 2.3 billion monthly active users.
During the period, Facebook also removed or labelled 11.1 million pieces of terrorist content, 52.3 million instances of violent or graphic content and 7.3 million posts, photos or other uploads containing hate speech. In each case, the takedowns marked an increase from recent months, which Facebook attributed to its heightened efforts to deploy artificial intelligence tools and more human reviewers to spot, and potentially remove, posts, photos and videos that violate its rules.
For the first time, Facebook also said it had taken action against guns and drugs, covering about 1.4 million pieces of content that violated its rules prohibiting individuals from selling guns, gun parts or ammunition, and 1.5 million instances of content that broke its rules outlawing drugs, including marijuana.