Saturday 2 March 2024

Facebook removed 690 million fake accounts between October and December 2023

By their own admission, Meta, the owners of Facebook say they 'actioned' (believed to mean removed) 690 million fake accounts that were started between October and December 2023. Ninety-nine percent of them were discovered before they had been reported.

Note: Always be cautious when using Facebook and Instagram. Think the worst and proceed from that starting point. Too many scammers. Never send money upfront. Never.

Their response with this information was to the revelation that Meta is failing to do enough for 'romance fraud' victims. The Times report that there has been a 29% rise in the number of scams against victims who believed that they were communicating with an attractive man (or the other way around but less likely) when in fact they were communicating with a scammer who was using the image of a man who had no idea that his image was being used in this way.

Dr Christian Boving is used by love scammers to extract money from unsuspecting women looking for love. He is gay. He knows about the problem and has reported it to Meta, Facebook's owner but nothing happened.
Dr Christian Boving is used by love scammers to extract money from unsuspecting women looking for love. He is gay. He knows about the problem and has reported it to Meta, Facebook's owner but nothing happened. Image: The Times newspaper.

As an example, The Times reports on the picture of a Danish hunk of a doctor (who by the way is gay), Dr. Christian Boving, that has been used multiple times by scammers to develop relationships online through Facebook with unsuspecting women with the intention of, when the time is right, scamming the women out of thousands of pounds.

One such woman is Lauren McEwan, living in Missouri, USA. She was attracted to Dr. Christian Boving's face. But she was communicating with somebody else. These scams are called "authorised push payment frauds". The customers are tricked into paying money to an account controlled by a criminal. And Meta is facilitating these crimes it is alleged.

McEwan said that her experience hurt. She said that: "It did hurt. It was a real let down. It took me a couple of weeks to come to terms with it."

The report says that she is one of several new victims to have chosen to speak out about their experiences with Boving impersonators.

The accusation against Meta is that they have failed to clamp down on fake accounts using this doctor's appearance.

His face has appeared on various social media websites as part of scams and dating apps but the problem is particularly bad for Facebook. The doctor has accused Meta of continuously failing to delete the fakes. He wants more stringent verification to prevent the scam accounts being created.

Fraudsters began to use his picture 10 years ago. But the number of fake accounts have surged in recent years. He is speaking out against the problem to try and stop it. Victims have been alerted but many of these fake profiles remain online. He has lost hope and thinks that it will never stop.

He emailed Meta with a long list of fake profiles. He said that they weren't removed after he reported them. The Times newspaper also sent the list to Meta and some of the profiles have remained active. They had a partial success I guess because of their increased clout. But it is remarkable that Meta are still slow and reluctant to deal with these problems.

These are romance scam operations. Sometimes the women (it is usually women I guess) realise that there's something strange going on but they enjoy the admiration and the kind words. Sometimes when it's been proved unequivocally to the victim that they are being scammed they still refuse to accept it remarkably.

Meta says that accounts impersonating someone else are against their rules. They said that they have removed a number of accounts reported to them and continue to investigate. They don't allow fraudulent activity and they work with law enforcement to prevent the scammers using their platforms.

And, they admit that between October and December last year they took action on more than 690 million fake accounts on Facebook. Amazing. It gives the impression that Facebook is plagued, swamped, drowning in fake accounts.

Meta encourage people to report what they believe to be scamming accounts by using its in-app tools.

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg was a British politician until he joined Facebook on a $15 million a year salary a few years ago! Also in The Times there's an article about him, describing him as the Machiavelli of Meta. They ask whether he is curbing big tech excesses or enabling them.

The journalist who wrote that article, Tom McTague, writes that, "with [Meta's] platforms a hub for crime, from fraud to child grooming, any claims he is making it more responsible ring hollow." 


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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