Veterans Organization Asks For More Help Combating ���imposter��� Facebook Page

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Facebook is aware is has a fake pages problem. In December 2016, BuzzFeed News reported that the biggest Native American pages were run from places like Kosovo and Vietnam. Those pages not only created fake profiles to help spread content, but sold T-shirts with designs stolen from Native American artists.

“They’re just capitalizing on struggle — it’s really crazy,” Jared Yazzie, a Navajo who runs a Native American clothing company in Arizona called Oxdx, told BuzzFeed News at the time.

In February of this year, the website Media Matters identified a network of 25 fake Native American Facebook pages that were still up on Facebook, some of them making money directly from the platform by using Instant Articles.

More recently, CNN reported that the most popular Black Lives Matter page on Facebook was a scam. It claimed to raise money for BLM causes and received at least $100,000 in donations, but those funds went to Australian bank accounts. CNN reported that Facebook removed the pages after a week’s worth of calls and emails with the reporters. Initially, the social media giant said the page did not violate community standards.

Asked about the BLM page, a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “We investigated this situation as soon as it was brought to our attention, and disabled the Page admin for maintaining multiple profiles on the platform. We continue to look into the situation and will take the necessary action in line with our policies.”

The original fake VVA page also took two months to remove, according to the report, and others sprung up in its place after it was down. Goldsmith said Facebook initially thought it didn’t violate community standards, and it was only when Goldsmith realized the fake page used VVA’s trademarked logo that the social media network pulled it down.

Facebook recently introduced new measures meant to help weed out junk pages, including verifying the identity and location of the owner for large pages. However, the company didn’t specify what’s considered a large page or whether the new information will be available to the public.

Zuckerberg acknowledged during his testimony that fake accounts and false information on Facebook is a problem, and said the solution would come in the form of AI tools. Goldsmith told BuzzFeed News that he knows an AI solution takes time, but Facebook could do other things short-term. One idea he had is not just to shut down the offending pages, but to migrate people who liked the fakes onto the real pages.

“I would love to see it clearly communicated that they are not just going to shut down fake accounts but that they will proactively work to protect the veteran population as a whole,” Goldsmith said.

He worries that VVA’s elderly members — for whom Facebook is the primary communication tool — could become isolated if they decide to abandon it. For many, especially those living with disabilities or who have limited mobility in their old age, Facebook is the connective tissue to the outside world.

"If they decide that they can't trust Facebook, they lose their connection not just to VVA but with the broader community,” Goldsmith said.

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Source : https://www.buzzfeed.com/janelytvynenko/fake-facebook-pages-are-targeting-american-military-veterans

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