83 million Facebook accounts are fake, company acknowledges

The Right Click

As part of Facebook's quarterly report filing, their Form 10-Q revealed that 83 million accounts on its social networking site are actually fake. This includes duplicate profiles, accounts for things that aren't people, spam accounts or just your run-of-the-mill fake person.

That means that out of the 955 million active Facebook accounts, about 8.7 per cent of them are fake. In March, Facebook estimated that only 5-6 per cent of accounts on the site were phony.

As Mashable points out, for perspective, 83 million is roughly the size of Egypt's population.

Here's how those fake accounts break down:

  • 4.8 per cent are duplicate accounts
  • 2.4 per cent are user-misclassified accounts, like a business or animal with a personal account instead of a page
  • 1.5 per cent are "undesirable" accounts, which is Facebook's fancy word for spam

Facebook continues to work to get rid of these accounts daily. Mashable reports that the company bans at least 20,000 accounts per day.

This revelation comes on the heels of some other bad Facebook news — and that's not even referring to their struggling stock price.

Startup Limited Press claimed earlier this week that "80% of clicks on its advertisements within Facebook had come from fake users," the BBC reports. The BBC decided to test out the effectiveness of Facebook ads with their "VirtualBagel" experiment.

Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones put up a page for a fake business called VirtualBagel, which offered no products and no services, and put up ads that target users in the U.S., the U.K. and a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countires. Within 24 hours, the page had received over 1,600 likes, almost entirely from users in India, Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Fake users and their actions have Facebook and its investors very concerned about the future of its monetization model.

"We generate a substantial majority of our revenue from advertising," said Facebook in its filing, as quoted by the BBC. "The loss of advertisers, or reduction in spending by advertisers with Facebook, could seriously harm our business."