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BizReport : Law & Regulation : August 02, 2012

Number of 'duplicate' and 'false' Facebook accounts rising, reveals quarterly report

Facebook is facing an uphill battle to tame the trolls and spammers on the social network. The latest figures reveal a sharp rise in the number of fake accounts since the beginning of 2012.

by Helen Leggatt

fake-facebook1.jpgFor whatever reason, some Facebook users prefer to set up duplicate accounts on the social network. Some may just prefer a level of anonymity when engaging in controversial groups or discussions, and some do it for more malicious and undesirable reasons.

In the social network's latest quarterly report it was revealed that the number of accounts that violate their terms of service, such as 'duplicate' and 'false' ('user-misclassified' and 'undesirable accounts'), has risen sharply since the first quarter.

The company estimates that the number of dodgy accounts now stands at 8.7% of worldwide monthly active users, or just over 83 million accounts, of which 4.8% are 'duplicates' and 3.9% are 'false'. At the end of the first quarter, Facebook estimated the number to be 5-6% overall.

In their recent quarterly report Facebook describes 'false' accounts as:

(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.

Facebook also highlighted that the percentage of both 'duplicate' and 'false' accounts were "meaningfully lower" in developed markets and higher in developing markets such as Indonesia and Turkey.

"These estimates are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts and we apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers. As such, our estimation of duplicate or false accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts," said Facebook in their filing.

Want to know how to spot a fake Facebook profile? Check out this infographic from Barracuda Labs.

Tags: Facebook, fake accounts, quarterly report, social media, social network, terms of service, trolls

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