How We Respond to Inauthentic Behavior on Our Platforms: Policy Update

By Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy

My team coordinates our cross-company effort to find and stop information operations — coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public debate — across our platforms. Our coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) policy informs how we find, identify and remove these operations. In the past year alone, we have announced and taken down over 50 networks worldwide for engaging in CIB, including ahead of major democratic elections.

As we’ve improved our ability to disrupt these operations, we have also built a deeper understanding of the different types of threats out there, and how best to counter them. While significant public attention has been on foreign governments engaging in these types of violations, over the past two years, we have also seen non-state actors, domestic groups and commercial companies engaging in this behavior. And we’ve seen financially-motivated campaigns relying on fake accounts and other inauthentic tactics to drive clicks and mislead people.

While we investigate and enforce against any type of inauthentic behavior, the most appropriate way to address someone boosting the popularity of their posts in their own country may differ from the best way to counter foreign interference. That’s why we’re updating our inauthentic behavior policy to clarify how we act against the spectrum of deceptive practices we see on our platform. In this post, I’ll share more about our thinking and the policies we put in place to tackle information operations.

What is Inauthentic Behavior?

When people think about information operations, they often focus on the content that is being shared. Is it hate speech? Is it a threat? Is it false? But most of the content shared by coordinated manipulation campaigns isn’t provably false, and would in fact be acceptable political discourse if shared by authentic audiences. The real issue is that the actors behind these campaigns are using deceptive behaviors to conceal the identity of the organization behind a campaign, make the organization or its activity appear more popular or trustworthy than it is, or evade our enforcement efforts. That’s why, when we take down information operations, we are taking action based on the behavior we see on our platform — not based on who the actors behind it are or what they say.

Inauthentic Behavior Policy Update

We’re updating our inauthentic behavior policy to further improve our ability to counter new tactics and bad actors. Here’s how we will act against a range of inauthentic activities, whether foreign or domestic, state or non-state.

Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior
As with our previous takedowns, we will continue looking for groups of accounts and Pages working together to mislead people about who they are and what they’re doing. When we find domestic, non-government campaigns in which the use of fake accounts is central to the operation, we will remove all inauthentic and authentic accounts, Pages and groups directly involved in this activity. We will share our findings as part of a regular CIB report which we’ll launch in the coming months. However, if the activity we remove is directly related to a civic event, poses imminent harm or involves a new technique or a new significant bad actor, we will share our findings at the time of enforcement.

  • Persona Non Grata: If, in the course of a CIB investigation, we determine that a particular organization is primarily organized to conduct manipulation campaigns, we will permanently remove it from our platforms in its entirety.

Foreign or Government Interference (FGI)
There are two types of CIB that are particularly egregious:

  • Foreign-led efforts to manipulate public debate in another country
  • Operations run by a government to target its own citizens. These can be particularly concerning when they combine deceptive techniques with the real-world power of a state.

If we see any instances of CIB conducted on behalf of a government entity or by a foreign actor, we will apply the broadest enforcement measures including the removal of every on-platform property connected to the operation itself and the people and organizations behind it. We will also announce the removal of this activity at the time of enforcement.

Inauthentic Behavior (IB)

We routinely take action against other inauthentic behaviors, including financially-motivated activity like spam or fake engagement tactics that rely on inauthentic amplification or evading enforcement, rather than a core use of fake accounts. We’ve updated a list of these deceptive techniques in our policy to make sure people better understand the types of inauthentic behavior we will enforce against, even if it’s not part of a CIB campaign. We enforce against IB only based on specific protocols that are reviewed and approved through our internal process. It may include temporary restrictions, warnings, down-ranking or removal.

We will continue to adapt our policies to ensure we can effectively combat information operations even as bad actors evolve their techniques.

To help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience, we use cookies. By clicking or navigating the site, you agree to allow our collection of information on and off Facebook through cookies. Learn more, including about available controls: Cookie Policy