Over the last few years, Facebook has provided regular updates on clusters of accounts that it’s detected which have been engaged in what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior” – essentially, broad-scale operations designed to misinform and mislead Facebook users.
Following the 2016 US Presidential Election, and revelations of foreign interference in the political process, Facebook has been taking a more proactive approach to keeping the public informed of its efforts. And now, Facebook is looking to consolidate these reports into a monthly summary, providing overviews of each individual misinformation campaign, and how it operated, along with the scope of action Facebook has taken against it.
“Over the past three years, we’ve shared our findings of coordinated inauthentic behavior we detect and remove from our platforms. Starting this month, we will begin publishing information about all networks we take down over the course of a month as part of regular CIB reports to make it easier for people to see the progress we’re making in one place.”
The new reports will cover all the same detail as the past individual updates, including the total scope of each network, the likely intention of their efforts, and examples of posts.
Facebook notes that it will split these reports into distinct categories:
“There are two tiers of these activities that we work to stop: 1) coordinated inauthentic behavior in the context of domestic, non-state campaigns (CIB) and 2) coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government actor (FGI).”
The grouped reports will make it easier to get a better understanding of the scope of Facebook’s efforts, with monthly totals of actions taken. For example, in February, Facebook says that it took action against 5 networks, which saw the removals of 467 Facebook accounts, 1,245 Instagram Pages and 49 groups. It’s interesting to note, based on the totals here, the increased focus on Instagram, which will now be easier to track via the monthly collected updates.
In total, Facebook says that these groups had spent around $1.2 million on Facebook ads.
It’s a good initiative from Facebook, which, as noted, will make it easier to keep track of such efforts, as opposed to having to keep tabs on each individual report – which, given that there have been so many, can start to lose impact. Seeing monthly totals, and tracking them over time, will provide more perspective on how Facebook is improving, and how such networks act over time, relative to local polls.