- The Washington Times - Monday, March 22, 2021

Facebook said Monday that it deleted more than 1.3 billion “fake” accounts between October and December 2020 and has a staff of 35,000 employees focused on misinformation on its platforms.

The tech giant’s decision to promote its response to misinformation online comes ahead of a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about misinformation and disinformation later this week with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Democratic lawmakers are expected to grill Mr. Zuckerberg, alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, for not doing enough to stop the spread of information online that lawmakers deem inappropriate.

In a post on Facebook’s blog, Facebook Vice President Guy Rosen noted the upcoming hearing and cautioned people against assuming there would be a quick fix to the problems exacerbating bad information.

“It is tempting to think about misinformation as a single challenge that can be solved with a single solution. But unfortunately, that’s not the case,” Mr. Rosen wrote. “Thinking of it that way also misses the opportunity to address it comprehensively. Tackling misinformation actually requires addressing several challenges including fake accounts, deceptive behavior, and misleading and harmful content.”

Mr. Rosen wrote that Facebook has removed 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines that he said global health experts had identified as containing misinformation.

He said Facebook not only tries to determine what information its audience does not see but also attempts to push people in the direction of information that Facebook views as trustworthy.

“[I]t’s not enough to just limit misinformation that people might see. We also connect people to reliable information from trusted experts,” Mr. Rosen wrote. “We do this through centralized hubs like our COVID-19 Information Center, Climate Science Information Center or U.S. 2020 Voting Information Center, labels that we attach to certain posts with reliable information and experts, and notifications that we run in people’s feeds on both Facebook and Instagram.”

Mr. Rosen disputed any assertion that Facebook gained a financial benefit from turning a blind eye to misinformation and argued that the company does just the opposite.

“While nobody can eliminate misinformation from the internet entirely, we continue using research, teams, and technologies to tackle it in the most comprehensive and effective way possible,” he wrote.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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