Another 559 pages and 251 accounts were removed from Facebook in a bid to thwart a coordinated effort to use the upcoming midterm elections in the U.S. as a way to make their content appear more popular on the social network and drive clicks to websites that are actually ad farms.
Head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher and product manager Oscar Rodriguez said in a Newsroom post that the pages and accounts were removed because many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post “massive amounts of content” across a network of groups and pages with the aim of driving traffic to their websites.
Facebook also stressed that it is focusing on the behavior of accounts and pages when determining whether they should be removed, and not just examining the content they post.
Gleicher and Rodriguez wrote, “Topics like natural disasters or celebrity gossip have been popular ways to generate clickbait. But today, these networks increasingly use sensational political content—regardless of its political slant—to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site. And like the politically motivated activity we’ve seen, the ‘news’ stories or opinions these accounts and pages share are often indistinguishable from legitimate political debate.”