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Facebook Fakes: 83 M Dodgy Accounts

Facebook Fakes: 83 M Dodgy Accounts

Image credit: Sophos Labs

Facebook has a massive 83m dodgy accounts, or 8.7% of all user accounts, according to documents filed to US Securities and Exchange Commission.

So who are these fakie Facebook users?

Mostly duplicate account holders who may have a tame or ‘professional’ account and then a personal Facebook (cue drunken photos and other antics), says Facebook.

However, Facebookers who forgot login details and set up another are also to blame for duplicate accounts, which accounts for 4.8% of all 955m users.

But such “individuals who maintain one or more Facebook accounts in violation of our terms of service, despite our efforts to detect and suppress such behavior,” the network notes.

But there are also “false” accounts which spans everything from pets and businesses (who should have a page only) to  “undesirable” accounts, in other words, spammers.

Sophos Labs broke down the numbers and show 45m accounts are duplicates, 23m ‘misclassified’ and a worrying 14m or 1.5% are just spammers sending ‘undesirable’ content and malicious links to others.

The Facebook filing states it has identified ‘”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.” 

The percentage of fake accounts is lower in developed markets such as the United States or Australia and higher in developing markets such as Indonesia, Turkey, Facebook says, and warns “we are continually seeking to improve our ability to identify duplicate or false accounts.”

But Facebook may have the figures wrong, Sophos Labs Graham Cluely notes:

“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.”


The social network says it had 955 monthly active users in June 2012, an increase of 29% from 2011.

Users developing regions in Brazil (+146%) , India (+84%) , and Indonesia (+24%) represented key sources of growth in the  April-June period this year.

However, the US are also using Facebook more – with 168 m monthly users, an impressive 10% increase compared to 2011.

Pity about the low share price though.