Facebook said Friday local time that it had removed hundreds of fake accounts, pages and groups that misled users, including some that used artificial intelligence (AI) to generate fake profile images,media reported. Researchers who study the accounts say it is the first time they have seen AI-generated images being used on such a large scale, raising concerns about how social networks will address the issue ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook also canceled some fake accounts on Instagram, its photo-sharing service. The company is reported to have seized 610 Facebook accounts, 89 pages, 156 groups and 72 Instagram accounts from the US and Vietnam. About 55 million accounts followated at least one of the pages, most of them from outside the United States.
The company said it deleted the accounts, saying they were involved in foreign and government intervention or unreal, meaning that whoever was running the accounts was misleading.
Many of the fake accounts are promoted by a U.S. media organization called The Beauty of Life for U.S. citizens and Chinese in Vietnam, Spain and the u.S. The BL is linked to a US media group that owns The Epoch Times and pushes for pro-Trump content, according to Snopes, a fact-checking group. Facebook says the fake accounts typically post online memes about U.S. political news and impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, elections, trade, family values and religious freedom.
Analysis of these networks of fake accounts by social media analytics firm Graphika and Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab found that Much of the English content is in support of Trump or attacking the president’s rivals.
These accounts use fake avatars and pretend that Americans join organizations such as “America needs President Trump” and “Trump is president of the United States.” By using AI, the profiles of these fake accounts are also fake.
The researchers noted that some of the subtle details in the avatars suggested they were fake. For example, in some photos, you can see that the glasses and earrings worn by the person in the photo are asymmetrical, that someone’s neck may have a slight twist, or that the background of the photo looks a little unusual.
In other cases, fake accounts use avatars that are stock images or pictures of handsome beauties found online.
Another network of fake accounts originated in Georgia. In response, Facebook deleted 39 Facebook accounts, 344 pages, 13 groups and 22 Instagram accounts, which have more than 450,000 fans and members. The network pretends to be the media, political parties and activists, posting about news, politics and political criticism.