In its latest effort to push back against ongoing issues with content moderation and political spam, Facebook has purged 559 pages and 251 accounts demonstrating spammy behavior that violates its terms of service, as a spokesperson for the company tells Axios. Many of the posts that Facebook targeted came from hyper-partisan political pages and accounts.
Facebook says it didn’t take political leanings into consideration with its latest move, which targeted accounts on both the left and right, and focused on the tactics by which these accounts artificially inflated engagement on their content, rather than the content itself.
Still, it’s a risky move in a fraught political climate ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, and one that may remind users of the tired, nearly two-years-old “fake news” discourse around the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook’s past attempts to clean up its reputation for “fake news” and political clickbait have brought on accusations of censorship and political bias against conservatives. Meanwhile, the company also continues to face criticism over whether it has done enough to deal with issues like hate speech and misleading news.
Congressional investigations and private investigations by advocacy groups have not yet provided solid evidence that Facebook has discriminated on political grounds. Still, after having dealt with the same tired issues for this long, perhaps it’s time for a serious reexamination of Facebook’s place within the media landscape.