Facebook removes more than 130 'fake news' pages

Keiligh Baker's picture

Facebook has removed 137 fake pages, groups and Instagram accounts in the UK and a further 31 in Romania for engaging in hate speech and making divisive comments.

The company said it was the first time it had taken down a UK-based group targeting messages at British citizens.

The same group set up pages posing both as far-right outlets and anti-fascist activists.

Facebook's head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher, said: 'While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well funded.

'We constantly have to improve to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies. Their collaboration was critical to these investigations.'

Facebook said about 175,000 people followed at least one of the fake pages, which included 35 profiles on Instagram.

The company said the pages "engaged in hate speech and spread divisive comments on both sides of the political debate in the UK".

"They frequently posted about local and political news including topics like immigration, free speech, racism, LGBT issues, far-right politics, issues between India and Pakistan, and religious beliefs including Islam and Christianity.

"We're taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, 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."