Facebook has revealed it has over 83 million fake users as part of the social network‘s first public quarterly earnings report. These fake accounts make up 8.7 percent of Facebooks 955 million monthly active users, “a huge jump, both in raw numbers and as a percentage from Facebook’s last estimate,” notes CNet’s Emil Protlanski. “Back in March, Facebook said 5 to 6 percent of accounts are false or duplicate. At the time, this meant between 42.25 million and 50.70 million users.”
Marketwatch tech reporter Rex Crum discussed the issue with KFWB’s Maggie McKay and Michael Shappee.
The jump in numbers doesn’t denote a jump in false accounts, but Facebook’s increased transparency in tracking, as is required of a public company, Protlanski explains. “Before it only listed duplicate and false users, and now Facebook has broken down the latter number further: duplicate accounts,” he writes.
Facebook further breaks down its fake users like this:
- 4.8 percent are duplicate accounts (a single user with two or more accounts, in violation of Facebook’s terms of service).
- 2.4 percent are user-misclassified accounts, in which users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (instead of a Page, which such entities are allowed under Facebook’s terms of service).
- 1.5 percent are undesirable accounts, which represent user profiles that Facebook determines are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming.
As anyone whose ever had his or her Facebook profile created in the guise of the beloved family dog, cat or parrot can tell you, Facebook is pretty active in detecting and deactivating accounts that violate its terms of service. In regards to such users, Facebook states in its public filing, “We are continually seeking to improve our ability to identify duplicate or false accounts and estimate the total number of such accounts, and such estimates may be affected by improvements or changes in our methodology.”