Millions of Facebook's users are actually pets

While the social media network trumpets its 1 billion users, new research indicates about 100 million of them could be dogs, brands or even toasters.

By Aimee Picchi May 17, 2013 4:20PM

Dog using computer (copyright Elizabeth Aldridge/Flickr/Getty Images)While Facebook (FB) is set to mark the one-year anniversary of its IPO, a startling new statistic calls into doubt the accuracy of its claim to more than 1 billion members.


Figures gathered by other companies and analyzed by eMarketer show that the company last year actually had only 889.3 million users who are people. Facebook, though, had claimed 1 billion members in 2012. So what are the other 100 million accounts? 


Well, according to eMarketer, they're mostly pets and brands. Basically, if your friend set up an account for her cat, Facebook's counting Miss Snuggles as a member. 


Some of those pets are media stars in their own rights, helped by the power of the "like" and "share" button. Take Boo, for instance


Boo is quite honest about what he is. "My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good." But even though he's the star of a book called "Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog," he's never going to be human. 


While some brands and pet celebrities like Boo may interest a few Facebook fans, it's likely that the vast majority of the non-human Facebook profiles aren't so appealing. Given that Facebook sells advertising based on its reach, some clients may not too happy about paying to market to all the toasters and pets hanging out on the service. 


Meanwhile, media titan Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to offer a dire warning to the social media network. While he didn't specify which data he was referring to, there have been some publicized cracks in Facebook's growth story. The service has recently shed 6 million U.S. users, the Guardian reported in April


On Thursday, Murdoch wrote, "Look out Facebook! Hours spent participating per member dropping seriously. First really bad sign as seen by crappy MySpace years ago."


Murdoch should know what the consequences are. His News Corp. (NWS) bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005. Once the most visited social networking site, members started to drift away. In 2011, News Corp. sold the site for a reported $35 million.


Dogs on the Internet, indeed.


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 


More on moneyNOW

20Comments
May 17, 2013 6:02PM
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My yellow lab is aproaching eleven and over the years we had collected a plethora of pictures. I found creating her a facebook page to be a great way to share them. :)
May 18, 2013 11:00AM
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This shows the mentality of most Facebook users. 
May 18, 2013 1:09AM
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People do that because they have NO LIFE.
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Don't you think a real person set up the account & does updates? I think this writer & this story is a toad!
May 17, 2013 6:32PM
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i went thru my account and deleted all animals and people i didn't really know, who've added me over the years.  plus, i unliked everything because that gives u ads in ur newsfeed. what a difference this all made.
May 20, 2013 12:11AM
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My dog Wally logs into his own account and is able to navigate through the app. I take pictures and Wally tells me the ones he wants to post. He has met many lady dogs online through FB.
May 17, 2013 6:52PM
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My dog has a fb page and over 100 friends. Also, a lot of my friends who have since passed away still have pages. I have 2 pages oine under my maiden name and one under my current name.
May 20, 2013 10:18AM
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Apparently, they are among the smartest of Facebook "users" too.
May 19, 2013 1:30PM
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Let's FACE it....Hard to teach a DOG to type....A Dolphin, well maybe??
May 20, 2013 12:41PM
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I hate to admit it, but there are a lot of animals I'd rather "friend" then some of the people out there. I don't think this is hurting anyone, accept for the people who believe more humans are on FB than there actually are.
May 17, 2013 11:34PM
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My dog has a page. Many of my friends that I talk to regularly are animals. Some may find it odd, but it's not to me. I've made friends, both animal and human, all around the world. We help each other out, donate to each others' charities, and pursue many of the same interests. And, duh, just because it's my dog's account doesn't mean she's the one reading it. I see all the advertising. I think FB needs to get over it and use this. It is something important to many FB users. Many would be less likely to visit they own profile if they weren't going to their pet's. It would reduce usage dramatically, actually. Whether the profile is for a dog or a person or a toaster, it's people reading the advertisements. And, they ought to just recognize this and find a way to market to that group.Zuckerberg has really angered and disenfranchised many users when he has sought to purge FB of pet accounts, so if I were FB, I'd tread very carefully here. Maybe they ought to just find a way to use that information for better marketing rather than angering those 100 million users AND the 100 million or more who will stop using their own accounts if their pet accounts are shut down.
May 17, 2013 6:02PM
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my friends a zeppelin, a young man with a toolbox, and a sailor!
May 19, 2013 9:26AM
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Do dogs make payments in biscuits...??
May 19, 2013 9:24AM
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Woof, woof,woof, meow,wtf,woof woof ....
May 17, 2013 5:28PM
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I just don't do WALMART. I tried, each time I got angry, so now....I really don't do WALMART
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