In the giant news shadow created by Cambridge Analytics, it can be easy to forget that Facebook-based basic financial fraud victimizes thousands of people every year. Today, Facebook announced that it is enlisting machine learning tools to help battle the criminals.
The new tools will be largely tasked with fighting fake accounts used to commit fraud. While there are a number of techniques being used to identify fraudulent accounts, in a blog post Facebook wrote that the company looks for "instances where people are reaching out to others far beyond their typical network of connections, or in unusually large volumes, along with other behavior patterns."
Facebook's fight against fraud comes against a backdrop of concern about how the social media company treats customers and their data as a general matter. In a statement released today, Tom Pahl, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, says in part, "... the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.”
Machine learning tools will assist trained human reviewers who, Facebook says, block millions of fake accounts at the time of registration every day. In addition, Facebook provides users with a guide to spotting scams and fraud.
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