Facebook Says It Removed 2.2 Billion Fake Accounts in 3 Months

May 24, 2019 Updated: May 24, 2019

Facebook said it removed about 2.2 billion fake accounts in three months.

In a report on May 23, the social media firm said that “the amount of accounts we took action on increased due to automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time.”

“We disabled 1.2 billion accounts in Q4 2018 and 2.19 billion in Q1 2019. We’ll continue to find more ways to counter attempts to violate our policies,” the firm wrote.

It has been estimated that there are about 2.38 billion monthly active users who use Facebook around the world.

Facebook ceo mark zuckerberg waits for the french president in paris
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Paris on May 23, 2018. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

“The health of the discourse is just as important as any financial reporting we do, so we should do it just as frequently,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters about the findings, CNN Business noted. “Understanding the prevalence of harmful content will help companies and governments design better systems for dealing with it. I believe every major internet service should do this.”

The firm added that it saw a “steep increase” in the creation of abusive, fake accounts. Many of these accounts were blocked within a few minutes, but some slipped through.

The company estimates that 5 percent of its 2.39 billion monthly active users are fake accounts, which is about 119 million.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, holds a press conference at their headquarters abouth their new privacy policy on Facebook, in Palo Alto, California, May 26. Zuckerberg outlined Facebook’s new privacy control methods. (Kim White/Getty Images)

Regarding questionable content, the firm said that its enforcement isn’t perfect.

“As soon as we identify a mistake, we work to fix it. That’s why we are including how much content was restored after it was appealed, and how much content we restored on our own—even if the content wasn’t directly appealed. We restore content without an appeal for a few reasons,” it said.

Facebook logo is reflected in glasses in this picture illustration taken on April 1, 2019. (Akhtar Soomro/Reuters)

What’s more, for every 10,000 times people viewed content on Facebook, around 11 to 14 views contained content that violated Facebook’s adult nudity policy, the report said, and “25 views contained content that violated our violence and graphic content policy.”

Between January and March of 2019, the social media network said it “took action” on about 19.4 million pieces of content, CNN reported. Around 2.1 million pieces of content were appealed. As a result, 453,000 pieces of content were restored by the company.

social media apps on smartphone
This photo illustration taken on March 22, 2018, shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone. (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook Rejects Call for Breakup

Earlier this month, the firm rejected a call from its co-founder to break up the social media company.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from regulators around the world over data sharing practices as well as hate speech and misinformation on its networks. Some U.S. lawmakers have pushed for action to break up big tech companies and increase federal privacy regulation, Reuters reported.

“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be. Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American,” Hughes, a former college roommate of Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in a lengthy New York Times opinion piece.

“Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the break up of a successful American company,” Facebook spokesman Nick Clegg said in a statement.

Reuters contributed to this report.