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Morning Update: Facebook's Fake Account Purge

Gutting protections for transgender people, Kenya's LGBT laws, and a wholesome story.

Posted on May 27, 2019, at 7:28 a.m. ET

Facebook removed over 2 billion fake accounts, but the problem is getting worse

Last week, Facebook announced that it took down 2.19 billion fake accounts between January and March of this year — which makes the purge its biggest-ever takedown of fake accounts in a single quarter.

What Facebook didn’t say is that there are also more active fake accounts on the platform than there were six months ago — and in fact, more than ever before. Facebook now says 5% of active accounts are fake, up from its previous estimate of 3% to 4%.

It’s worth noting that the sweep of more than 2 billion fake accounts, while impressive, mostly removed fake profiles at the point of creation. People who investigate fake accounts on the platform told us the company still fails to remove obvious fakes — even during critical periods, such as the European Parliament election.

Meanwhile: Facebook says it won’t take down a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi, even though they know it is fake. The video was altered to make it look like Nancy Pelosi is drunkenly slurring her speech. The company says it will leave the video online and notify users that independent fact-checkers had deemed it had been manipulated.

SNAPSHOTS

Trump is gutting health care protections for transgender people and those who have had abortions. A draft rule released Friday would undo nondiscrimination protections established under the Affordable Care Act. The proposal would change the way discrimination “on the basis of sex” is defined.

Jake Patterson was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs and killing her parents. Patterson murdered James and Denise Closs and abducted 13-year-old Jayme Closs for 88 days before she escaped. The judge told him he was “the embodiment of evil.” Read the powerful statement Closs wrote about her abductor.

Kenya has upheld a law that punishes LGBT people for having sex. In a major blow to LGBT advocates, Kenya’s High Court said colonial-era laws outlawing gay sex should stay in place.

Taylor Swift may have revealed the name of her new album in an interview, and fans are freaking out. In keeping with the Swiftness of it all, Taylor dropped a couple of hints and fans think they’ve figured it out. But do we ever know anything? Do we even know ourselves?

A Hawaii yoga instructor who was missing in a forest for more than two weeks was found alive. Amanda Eller got lost while on a hike in the forest on May 8. After police and fire personnel ended their three-day search, hundreds of volunteers continued looking for her. Eller was discovered by searchers in a deep ravine after a search team spotted her from a helicopter.

Javier Cantellops/Facebook / Via facebook.com

A beloved mail carrier retired and the whole neighborhood turned out to say goodbye

Floyd Martin spent 20 years as a mail carrier in Georgia on the same route. He became a beloved fixture in downtown Marietta, and all the people along his route came to love him and know him well.

So many people said they think of Martin as a member of their family. He watched generations grow up, and celebrated their birthdays, graduations, and weddings with them.

Last week was Martin’s last day before retirement, and the neighborhood sent him off in style. Nearly everyone along the route decorated their mailboxes, and the day ended with a massive potluck to celebrate Martin’s contributions.

So, so many tears. I love this story. Enjoy.

Johnny Walker

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