Facebook Likely Has 83 Million Fake Users

    August 2, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

If you picked any Facebook user at random, there is nearly a 1 in 10 chance that the user you picked isn’t real. Maybe it’s a duplicate, maybe it’s a spam account – but either way, it’s a fake Facebook user.

How do we know this? From Facebook themselves, actually.

In their recent 10-Q filing with the SEC, Facebook released some hard figures on how many of their users they believe to be disingenuous. Here’s what Facebook had to say when describing “limitations of key metrics”:

For example, there may be individuals who maintain one or more Facebook accounts in violation of our terms of service, despite our efforts to detect and suppress such behavior. We estimate that “duplicate” accounts (an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account) may have represented approximately 4.8% of our worldwide MAUs as of June 30, 2012.

We also seek to identify “false” accounts, which we divide into two categories: (1) user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization, or non-human entity such as a pet (such entities are permitted on Facebook using a Page rather than a personal profile under our terms of service); and (2) undesirable accounts, which represent user profiles that we determine are intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming. As of June 30, 2012, we estimate user-misclassified accounts may have represented approximately 2.4% of our worldwide MAUs and undesirable accounts may have represented approximately 1.5% of our worldwide MAUs.

Translation: 8.7% of accounts are either duplicates or “false.” Since Facebook just reported 955 million MAUs, that means they estimate their number of fake accounts to be…


Don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of fake users. Take the entire populations of New York City and Mumbai and multiply it by four and you’ve got the amount of fake Facebook users out there. But in terms of proportion – it really could be worse.

Take Twitter for instance. Recent reports put them over the 500 million account threshold. But according to Twitter themselves, it’s unlikely that they have any more than 160 million active users. That’s a whole bunch of inactive accounts.

But it just makes you wonder (especially as a page owner) whether 8.7% of your likes are from fake accounts? How about comments on your posts – are they spam accounts? And what about those ad clicks?

[via Geekosystem]

  • MR

    This thing is not posting some comments.

    • hatefacebook

      So many fake account, according to the latest 10-Q form filed on July 30th,


      Facebook is facing the real challenge not disclosed in its IPO filing. Slow user grower rate, ineffective Ads, lot of fake users etc. If you read its filing from top to bottom, and you may think – will it be another myspace?

  • Toto

    Yeah, I typed a longer comment and WPN didn’t post it after I tried like 5 times. No bad words or anything. Some word it didn’t like. Too strict. WPN has turned horrible.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/josh-wolford Josh Wolford

      We’ll look into any comment issue we may have – sorry about your comment getting eaten.

  • http://www.placestoeatokay.com Steve G

    It’s one of those “Ah Ha!” moments where everybody knew there were a lot of fake or duplicate accounts, and finally Facebook is fessing up. Kind of ironic how they’ve probably known this for quite some time and only fessed up about it after the IPO. I’m not trying to say there is some sort of conspiracy to commit fraud, but it just seems too convenient that Facebook would announce this after the IPO, when I’m sure they knew it was going on all along. I suppose they’re following in the transparency footsteps of Google. You know, only telling you what they want you to hear when they want you to hear it, so it looks like the company is making an effort.

  • We

    83 million fake users?

    The government surveillance machine won’t like that!

    (All social media sites are CIA/NSA intelligence gathering assets, nothing more.)

    Sad part is so few realize it or care.

  • shannon

    Is it illegalcto create a fake facebook with fake photos found on the internet with a fake name that isnt in any relations to those photos?
    Im in fl

  • the king

    facebook does not have more than 100 million unique users. even AOL at peak only had 35 million users. what about all of the fake zynga accounts? some people have hundreds of false accounts just for zynga games alone. maybe facebook should start taking credit cards for subscriptions so investors can see how many real users there are.

    • http://www.greyolltwit.com/ Grey Olltwit

      Absolutely. If Facebook themselves admit to possibly 83 million fake users then I would suggest multiplying that by 10 for a more accurate figure.

  • http://www.neeshdesign.com.au Neesh Design

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if Facebook culled inactive accounts say after a period of one or two years. The business pages that had been buying fans would get a shock and make a more legitimate playing field. What do you think?