Social media companies from Facebook to YouTube are failing to stop people from setting up fake accounts, buying false online followers and promoting inauthentic digital content, according to a report published Friday by a NATO-accredited group.
The findings — based on analysts purchasing social media manipulation tools and then testing how the companies responded — stand in stark contrast to public statements from Facebook, Twitter and Google that claim they have all significantly clamped down on such activities since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“We assess that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are still failing to adequately counter inauthentic behaviour on their platforms,” said Sebastian Bay and Rolf Fredheim, the report’s authors, in the publication. “Self-regulation is not working. The manipulation industry is growing year by year,” they continued.
The study notes that most of the “inauthentic behavior” is related to “commercial endeavors” – not politics.