Facebook touts war on misinformation ahead of US hearing

Facebook on Monday highlighted a ramped up effort to block fake accounts in an ongoing battle against misinformation ahead of a key hearing in Congress scrutinizing online platforms.

The leading online social network disabled more than 1.3 billion fake accounts in the final three months of last year along, according to Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

"We have every motivation to keep misinformation off of our apps and we''e taken many steps to do so at the expense of user growth and engagement," Rosen said in a blog post.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, along with the top executives of Google and Twitter, are set to testify remotely Thursday at a hearing on disinformation being held by a congressional committee.

Fake accounts are often used to spread deceptive information, sometimes working together in what the social network refers to as coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB),

"We take a hard line against this activity and block millions of fake accounts each day, most of them at the time of creation," Rose said.

"We also investigate and take down covert foreign and domestic influence operations that rely on fake accounts."

Facebook has removed more than 100 networks of inauthentic behavior during the past three years, according to Rosen.

The social network reported that it has more than 35,000 people devoted to thwarting such abuses at Facebook, which also uses artificial intelligence to detect fraud or spam.

Automated systems at Facebook have taken down more than 12 million pieces of misinformation about Covid-19 or vaccines since the start of the pandemic began, according to the social network.

Facebook also provides dedicated hubs for vetted information topics such as climate change and Covid-19.

"Despite all of these efforts, there are some who believe that we have a financial interest in turning a blind eye to misinformation," Rosen said.

"The opposite is true. "

Critics accuse Facebook of doing too little to stop misinformation at the platform, and of even promoting its spread because such attention-getting material ramps up engagement that the social network can monetize with ads.