Facebook is taking another stand against fake news. On Thursday, the social media giant said that it had removed more than 150 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages and groups – 137 stemming from the United Kingdom, and an additional 31 from Romania – that pushed “coordinated inauthentic behavior” to spread hate speech and divisive comments from opposite ends of the political spectrum. “We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy, said in a statement. “We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted. In each of these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.” About 175,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages, and around 4,500 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts, the company said. The recent crackdown comes as Facebook and other social media companies like Pinterest and Youtube have been hounded by both federal lawmakers and the general public to crackdown on the spread of misinformation on their sites. Facebook also announced its plan to take a similar approach on vaccine misinformation. A company representative said it will not remove the fake content, but will reduce its reach by lowering its appearance in users’ news feeds and searches, rejecting ads that spread false information about vaccinations and “exploring ways to give people more accurate information from expert organizations about vaccines” when they come across misinformation on the topic.
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