Facebook has released statistics showing that it believes there are more than 83 million fake accounts on its social network.
Some 8.7% of the site’s 955 million users are believed to be bogus, according to documents that the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this week.
According to Facebook, the biggest proportion of the bogus accounts (4.8% of all accounts on the network) belong to users who maintain duplicate accounts.
Why might you want to have more than one account? Well, I know a primary school teacher who doesn’t want her pupils to see what she gets up to socially (and the drunken pictures her friends might post of her at wild parties) and so she maintains one “professional” account (under her real name) and another “personal” account under a nickname.
Of course, such behaviour (the ownership of more than one account, not the partying) is in violation of Facebook’s terms & conditions.
That clearly isn’t bothering some 45 million users, however.
Then there are what Facebook calls “user-misclassified” accounts. Those users who have created personal profiles for their business, their boat, their pet, or some other non-human entity.
Facebook claims that approximately 2.4% of the accounts on its network are mis-classified in this way, and that really the owners of those almost 23 million accounts should create a page for their business/pet/etc instead.
Finally, and perhaps of most interest to Naked Security’s readers, we come to the 1.5% of accounts that are categorised as “undesirable”. Over 14 million Facebook accounts are used for the primary purpose of sending out spam or other malicious links and content.
Why does this matter? Well, clearly all Facebook users are interested in the site becoming a safer place, and the level of spam and malicious links being minimised. But more than that, companies who are considering advertising on the social network want to be sure that any “likes” they receive are from genuine users, not bogus accounts.
Interestingly, Facebook says that the percentage of fake accounts is higher in developing markets such as Indonesia and Turkey, than in countries where the social network is more established.
That was certainly experience of BBC News Technology reporter Rory Cellan-Jones, who recently explored the value of Facebook advertising by creating a page about “Virtual Bagels” and was flooded with fans from Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines – with many of the accounts obviously false.
Of course, it’s far from simple for Facebook to determine reliably if every account is fake or not, as anybody can create an account with a bare minimum of credentials. What remains to be seen is whether the proportion of dodgy accounts on Facebook continues to grow, and if the site’s advertisers view it as a problem.
21 comments on “Facebook: There are over 83 million fake accounts on our site [INFOGRAPHIC]”
Facebook is going down the shitter
I think there are more than that. Most of the accounts are by people who play Farmville and other games and can't get people to be neighbors. That is the single most prevalent.Some of the ones who don't have it as a page is because the page format is more limited than a regular facebook page. It is way more then that number.
I must agree, I know one individual with around 8 accounts used solely for playing zynga games.
I Used Facebook for games zynga only.., i have 7 account for mafia wars.. LOL
Most of the duplicate accounts in my experience are game players of things like farmville & battle pirates. The spammy “gifts” players can send to each other encourage the creation of fake accounts in the names of siblings or children who don’t use facebook. They look like authentic accounts and are thus not counted in the above article. I would go as far as to say that because of the games factor, about a third of accounts on facebook are fake!
SO users who like their privacy are part of this "fake" profile demographic now are they…
If so, these figures mean nothing.. Some of us still like to have some degree of privacy, especially online funnily enough..
I am surprised the number is so low. I would have expected a very large number of accounts which are simply anonymous. These violate Facebook's terms of service which require a real name. I have thought of setting one up sometime simply because Google searches sometimes lead to a Facebook page which leads to something which is limited to Facebook members. Likewise the newspaper I follow (a Gannett publication) limits comments on its articles to Facebook members: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/1559…
If someone is doesn't want particular FB friends to see particular pictures etc there are ways of doing this by sorting friends into groups, with restrictions on what each group can have access to.
That way there is no need to keep duplicate accounts as long as you are careful to specify which group/s can see a particular post, picture etc.
If Facebook would have a helpdesk I am sure some of the accounts would disappear as users would contact facebook support to regain access to accounts.
I take with a big grain of salt the number of Likes that appear on a Facebook fan page. I wish more people were equally skeptical.
I know of a man who has created 1000+ Facebook accounts of fake people who Like a fan page that he created for, and administers in the memory of, an obscure dead musician. Of the 1150 people who Like the fan page, I'd guess that between 30 to 50 of them are real (read: mostly relatives, former friends, and personal acquaintances of said musician) and the rest are fakes that the man had created.
In 2010, the above-mentioned fan page consistently received 100 (?!) new Likes each and every month. I doubt said musician has more than 30 real fans in the world who were not relatives, friends, or acquaintances of his. From January 2011 to the present, the fan page has received a total of approximately 100 new Likes. Also in January 2011, the page administrator hid the names of those who Like his fan page. Now you can see only the page's total number of Likes.
So what about those profiles that are reported constantly to FB marking them as non human or malicious, and nothing is done about them. I am currenlty dealing with someone who is constantly harrassing people in my community under a number of aliases – all reported to fb and none have been deleted. Maybe they need to start looking at that side first. The amount of distress caused by this person is incredible, and even the police are struggling to subpeona records from this company. Its a disgrace!!
My account is as Private as I can make it for my own safety.
Facebook is not telling the whole truth. I think the fakes are way more but the question is not how they keep order in their house. Facebook is going to get worse than better. It is just a matter of time. Unfortunately the problem is not only theirs. Look what happen with Craig's list and with some other sites like May Space. The human nature is to blame for most of the problems. Facebook is not able to find working model to keep out the sexual predators, killers, sex workers etc. So, I think it is time for all this 'specific' part of auditory to… open their own cyber world. Out of Facebook.
I closed my FB account could not delete unknown friends, too frighten to click on like, purchased items for games and my money w/ disappear & CS refused to replace it. It was hard but I just deleted it after realizing too many hackers were accessing my email account and endangering me my friends & family thru my FB & yahoo account, & neither enity would acknowledge the seriousness of the problem & do something.
Had I not created more than one account (under my own name) I would have been blocked from my own political account by FB. When I entered my valid password and could not enter my account, I was prompted to ask for a new password. When I followed instructions….I was set up with a "new" account with no access to my group or any of my friends. I was able to eventually get back into my OWN politically active account where we post valid newslinks from a liberal perspective via another profile I had set up under my own name. Many of us who are politically active in trying to support our President and call out the obstructionists in Congress have encountered problems from the seemingly "right-biased" FB administrators. My group does not create "spam" or engage in malicious behavior, though we often post our opinions on the walls of PUBLIC officials. I have never engaged in the obnoxious name-calling or hateful interchanges that usually come from the extreme right-wing folks…but try to encourage people to THINK and analyze what is happening, while pointing out how our government is designed to work. I have noticed an apparent attempt at social engineering by FB administrators as they ban folks from requesting friends from people that are not "direct acquaintances or relatives"…It is an interesting process…and I am NOT impressed with the attempt of FB to determine whom I may or may not "friend".
One fake begets another. One HUGE fake begets 955 million little others. The whole slimy, privacy-robbing, spam-generating, security-killing operation should be called Fraudbook.
Hey…a new Internet meme! From now on, in my book, Facebook = Fraudbook. I like it.
I’m sick of being treated like a CRIMINAL every time I use FB. I've personally been banned so many times I cant count for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG. for example: just the other day I was browsing my news feed for the first time in months & clicking ‘like’ to all the ones I ‘like’ & BLAM! I get the ‘you need to login’ thing & I got banned for ‘liking’ too much!?! LOL!, I cant ‘like’ anything for 30 days! LOL! ARE YOU F’IN KIDDIN ME?! LOL!. its ridicules.
Many people I know feel the need to have multiple accounts due to the fact that FB forces you to add people as friends before you can add them in games like Mafia Wars, School of Magic and Castle Age, and they doesn't feel cofortable with allowing total strangers access to their personal pics, posts and so forth
The problem is not security going outwards (i.e. who your posts can be seen by)… it's controlling things coming inwards, i.e. what your friends are posting on your wall, or tagging you in, or the comments they put on your posts. We don't have any control that says "If this user posts to my wall, it can only be seen by this group"… That's why many professionals will do two accounts – one for home/fun life and one for professional contacts. I have a friend who thinks it is fun to be offensive. While I only maintain one account, it has certainly meant that I have lost a few new friends after something they post gets an off color comment by him!
Some 8.7% of Facebook's 955 million users are believed to be bogus, so how does that affect consumer confidence if 1 egg per dozen is bad?
I have blocked at least 65 fake accounts on face book and 68 on my former twitter account. Facebook does not seem to care if the accounts are fake or spammers the help desk that is big joke its a way for face book to spy on you