Facebook: 83 Million User Accounts are Fake

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook has acknowledged that almost one in ten user accounts registered with the social networking site are fake. Facebook says these 83 million accounts include duplicates, those set up for users' pets, or those registered for organizations rather than for actual individuals.

Facebook officials made this startling admission in the company's very first quarterly report to American financial regulators. Specifically, the company revealed that about 8.7 per cent of its 955 million global users fall into these and other questionable categories. (Source: abcnews.com)

Duplicates Account for Half of All Fakes

Facebook says just over half of these fake accounts, about 46 million in total (4.8 per cent), are duplicates. The company defines a duplicate account as one "that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account".

Another 2.4 per cent of all Facebook accounts are considered "user-misclassified." These add up to some 23 million accounts, which Facebook says are owned by users who "have created personal profiles for a business, organization or non-human entity such as a pet". (Source: guardian.co.uk)

"Undesirable" Accounts Spam Users

Still another class of user accounts contributing to the 83 million fakes are about 14 million accounts that have been called "undesirable."

These are Facebook profiles that actually breach Facebook's terms and conditions because they are designed to send out spam messages to other Facebook users, generally to annoy them or sell them products.

Five months ago, Facebook estimated the number of fake accounts in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 million (representing 5 to 6 per cent of all accounts).

If that was an accurate estimate, then the number of fake and malicious accounts has increased substantially since then.

All of this is significant because the knowledge of these "ghost" accounts will likely reduce Facebook's appeal to advertisers. That would be a major problem for a company generating most of its revenue from advertising.

"The loss of advertisers, or reduction in spending by advertisers with Facebook, could seriously harm our business," Facebook noted in the quarterly report. (Source: guardian.co.uk)

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