FACEBOOK HAS TAKEN the banhammer to 559 pages and 251 accounts that have been spreading political messages across the platform.
In a blog post announcing the bans - which is a remarkably un-Facebook thing to do - Facebookers Nathaniel Gleicher and Oscar Rodriguez explain that the move comes ahead of the midterm elections.
And suddenly it all becomes clear: Facebook - usually a black box when it comes to security decision making - is temporarily a fan of transparency so as not to get abuse from both sides of the political aisle. Either about partisan censorship or helping someone remarkably unqualified take the highest office in the land. For example.
"We look at these actors' behaviour - such as whether they're using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam - rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove," the post pleads, already aware that the usual voices will be claiming institutional bias.
"Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites," the post continues.
"Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate."
Curiously, the post argues that the dodgy accounts weren't in the political ‘news' game for grubby political reasons, but for the more traditional grubby money-making reasons. Facebook compares the new political spam to traditional scammers hawking "fraudulent products like fake sunglasses or weight loss ‘remedies'".
We're not sure the politicians would welcome the comparison, but at least most democracies come with a guarantee of sorts. If you're not happy with your vote, you have a chance to put it elsewhere in four or five years' time. µ
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