Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hundreds of political Facebook accounts, groups and pages — and 72 Instagram accounts — have been purged after using fake, AI-generated profile photos to masquerade as Americans, the company announced.

Why it matters: This is the first time Facebook has seen “a systemic use" of AI-generated photos in profile pictures "to make accounts look more authentic," Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher told the New York Times.

Yes, but: Gleicher also told the Times "that this AI technique did not actually make it harder for the company’s automated systems to detect the fakes, because the systems focus on patterns of behavior among accounts."

The big picture: Social media platforms face an uphill battle against misinformation ahead of the 2020 presidential election, as new tactics emerge and evolve.

Details: Many of the posts, which originated in the U.S. and Vietnam, targeted President Trump's impeachment and promoted conservative ideology and "family values and freedom of religion," Facebook said.

  • The accounts involved are tied to Epoch Media Group, parent company to the Epoch Times, Facebook found.
  • The group denied Facebook's findings in an email to the NYT.
  • The outlet was banned from placing ads on Facebook in August, after CNBC reported that it hid its connection to ads on the platform promoting Trump and conspiracy theories.

Go deeper: Misinformation haunts 2020 primaries

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 19,412,292 — Total deaths: 722,066 — Total recoveries — 11,773,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 4,945,795 — Total deaths: 161,456 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.
2 hours ago - Health

Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing body of research has made it clear that airborne transmission of the coronavirus is possible.

Why it matters: That fact means indoor spaces can become hot spots. Those spaces also happen to be where most business and schooling takes place, so any hope for a return to normality will require better ways of filtering indoor air.

The silver linings of online school

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Online learning can be frustrating for students, teachers and parents, but some methods are working.

The big picture: Just as companies are using this era of telework to try new things, some principals, teachers and education startups are treating remote learning as a period of experimentation, too.