California: Moldova, which is considered among the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe, did not make it to Facebook’s list of regions plagued with fake news and misinformation for three years.
Developers in Moldova told BuzzFeed News that it took them three years of reporting to the social networking giant about the menace of misinformation and fake news before the company took some real action.
The developers used a browser add-on, called Trolless, to generate a database of fake accounts and used Facebook’s official reporting tool to draw attention.
It was a chance contact with a Facebook employee in January 2019 that influenced its decision to remove offenders, including 168 fake accounts, 28 pages, and 8 Instagram accounts, in February.
The incident is indicative of how hard it can be to get Facebook’s attention on smaller markets for something as alarming as fake news and misinformation. The Moldovan incident is also not the only case.
Guillaume Brossard, the co-founder of Hoaxbuster, a French misinformation hub that’s been active since 2000 faced similar issues. Brossard said that it is almost impossible to get Facebook’s attention unless you are one of the company’s official in-country partners to identify and remove fake news or profiles.