By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Facebook banned more than 3 billion fake accounts between October and March, the technology giant said Thursday.
That includes 1.2 billion accounts being removed from October through December and an additional 2.19 billion from January through March.
Facebook said in a blog post it took the action in response to a spike in "bad actors" creating massive amounts of accounts at once, vowing "to find more ways to counter attempts to violate our policies".
The social media titan said in a separate post that the accounts were removed so quickly they "were never considered active" and were never considered part of the company's monthly tally of active users.
That is critical for investors who track the figure to judge the platform's popularity.
Facebook earlier reported it had 2.3 billion active users in the first quarter of 2019. It estimates that roughly 5% of that base is constituted by fake accounts.
Facebook is in the midst of a bevy of challenges, including combatting the spread of terrorist content after an attack on two New Zealand mosques was livestreamed on the platform and efforts to use it to disseminate hate speech and manipulate electoral processes.
The company estimated that for every 10,000 times people viewed content on Facebook, roughly 25 views "contained content that violated our violence and graphic content policy".
It further said that while the prevalence of global terrorism content is "too low to measure", it approximated that for every 10,000 times individuals viewed content on Facebook, "less than three views contained content that violated" relevant policies.