How to spot fake ads in ads from Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram
Posted On September 4, 2021
A new study finds that more than a third of fake ads on Facebook and Instagram are made by people with a history of being paid for fake stories.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at MIT and Google, found that fake ads that were posted in the top 200 posts on Facebook by users who had posted more than $1,000 in posts and videos in the past six months had a much higher probability of being real.
That makes it hard to distinguish real from fake news on Facebook, a platform that has grown to more than one billion users since its inception in 2009.
“There’s no way to tell if an ad is fake or not, because you can’t tell if it’s made by someone with a track record of actually having done that before,” said Dan Reifenstahl, a researcher at MIT.
“But there is no doubt that fake news is increasingly prevalent.”
Fake news accounts are created by people who have been paid to spread false news on social media, and some have been identified by the researchers as being part of a botnet.
The botnets use sophisticated software to create stories and then post them to websites that are controlled by a handful of well-connected people.
The bots are also capable of spreading misinformation.
In the study, researchers found that nearly half of all ads that appeared on Facebook ads targeted the fake news posts.
The MIT researchers found more than 80 percent of the ads that originated from accounts that were identified by Google and Facebook were paid for by fake accounts.
They also found that more ads that posted on the Facebook pages of the top 20 most popular fake news stories were paid by a bot or another account that was controlled by the same person.
The researchers used a variety of online tools to find accounts that shared the top-200 posts on each platform.
“We didn’t want to rely on any one service to tell us which fake account was responsible for the posts, so we focused on a subset of the posts that were targeted by Google, Facebook and Twitter,” said Reifstahl.
The results were particularly striking because the accounts were more likely to post posts that included the words “fake news” or “fake” in their title.
That was the case even if the posts were in English or German.
In some cases, the accounts used terms such as “diversity” or other derogatory terms that could be interpreted as denigrating groups or people.
For instance, an account in the Facebook group “White House” posted a video that featured two white women speaking in English about their experience living in the White House.
The video had a caption saying “When it comes to the White house, we do not discriminate.”
The researchers found many other accounts that used terms that were negative in nature, such as derogatory terms for Black people or people of color.
They also found more posts that linked to fake accounts that had already been linked to the same account on Google and Twitter.
They noted that a majority of the accounts with more than 1,000 posts and 6,000 videos were linked to accounts that made more than 100 million dollars in revenue from the ads.
A study from the company BuzzFeed earlier this month found that the average Facebook ad was a hoax, and it found that many fake accounts on Facebook were also fake accounts created to sell goods or services.