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

Quibi says it's shutting down

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Quibi, the mobile-only video subscription streaming service, is shutting down, the company announced Wednesday. The company said the decision was made to preserve shareholder equity.

Why it matters: Quibi had struggled to hit its subscriber growth targets amid the global pandemic. The app launched six months ago.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.
3 hours ago - Podcasts

House antitrust chair talks USA vs. Google

The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.

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