Just call it 'Fakebook'?

Facebook estimates that it has 83 million fake accounts, which is higher than what it had pegged in the past.

By Benzinga Aug 2, 2012 4:35PM
Credit: © David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Caption: Facebook Inc. signageBy Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer

Facebook (FB) has spent a great deal of time promoting the fact that it has more users than any other social network. Up until now, no one knew how many of those users were actually real.


The good news is that Facebook's own estimates, which come from the company's 10-Q, are relatively positive. The company believes that it has 872 million real users (via Mashable). This is a very impressive number.


However, it also means that Facebook is overwhelmed with 83 million fake accounts, or 8.7% of total users.


Facebook defines these fake accounts in a handful of ways:

  • Duplicate Accounts, defined as "an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account." These make up 4.8% of total users.
  • User-Misclassified Accounts, which are produced when a user creates a personal profile for a business, organization, or non-human entity (such as a pet), make up 2.4% of total users.
  • Undesirable Accounts, which are often used for spamming, make up 1.5% of total users.

For a company that claims to have 955 million members, the number of fake accounts is particularly depressing. The number is also much higher than that of fake users that Facebook estimated it had during the last quarter (40 million to 50 million).


Facebook has been struggling over the past two weeks. Since July 26, company shares have lost more than 45% of their value, dropping from $29.34 at market close on July 25 to $20.88 on August 1. Facebook fell another 4% Thursday to close at $20.04.


Some investors and analysts worry that the company does not have an effective business model for monetizing its many users. Others wonder if the company is paying too much for acquisitions.


In June, comScore (SCOR) attempted to prove that Facebook offered an efficient ad platform by releasing the results of a widespread study. At the same time, Ford (F) and Coca-Cola (KOpledged their support for the social network.


One software startup raised questions about phony Facebook accounts this week when it found that as many as 80% of the clicks on its ads appeared to be coming from bots.


More from Benzinga


83Comments
Aug 3, 2012 2:48AM
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Never had an FB account.  I have enough imaginary friends as it is.
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It should be called Fakebook to describe all of the phonies who try to make their life seem better or more important than yours. 
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Did anyone mention, yet, how many millions of FB accounts are kids under 15 years old with no adquisition power whatsoever?
Aug 2, 2012 11:48PM
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My ex-wife made up several accounts when our son was 12 ... in his name or variations of it, for game playing and other such nonsense on FB.  I am sure she's not alone in this endeavor.  FB is a joke ... no life for these folks. 
Aug 2, 2012 8:22PM
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FaceBook has already committed suicide, so why even give it any notice, at all. Hard to navigate, constantly changing and not very trustworthy. I'd just as soon write my personal information on a Trailways Bus Station wall... and feel much safer about the confidentiality of that information.

One word for FaceBook... thpthpthpssssszzzzztttt!

Aug 3, 2012 5:59AM
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Intelligent people talk about  fascinating things.

Regular people talk about regular things.

MEDIOCRE people talk about other people's lives.
Aug 2, 2012 11:45PM
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The police use fake accounts all the time to monitor things their "friends" are doing. It's funny and sad to know that people are so dumb they will accept friend requests from people that don't exist.

Aug 3, 2012 10:53AM
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Who is dumb enough to let these privacy invading Nazi goons publish your life to the entire world? If so, people are dumber than I ever realized!
Aug 2, 2012 10:11PM
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FB has been exposed for the joke it is.
Aug 3, 2012 1:30AM
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Im glad Im not there anymore, to many foreigners, hackers, and pigs sticking their nose in other peoples business.
Aug 2, 2012 8:05PM
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Facebook is such a sham it's amazing that it wasn't apparent to more people way before the IPO.  Subscribers have been brainlessly duped into providing a wealth of personal information to be packaged and sold to advertisers, marketers, the government, etc.  Meanwhile, their blind trust and opt-in to the EULA is constantly being barraged by invasive changes to the privacy policies and creepy changes to the user interface.

 

A whole generation is growing up with no comprehension of the idea of personal privacy or boundaries.  The leading edge of this generation is already becoming aware of the downside of putting their lives on public display, including unflattering youthful...ermmm...indiscretions, that have cost them jobs during interview screening processes---years later.

 

Consider:

 

- Facebook has no tangible product ("vaporware")

- A significant shortcoming is the limited shelf life of the personal information it has mined

- It is fad-based, subject to user fatigue, and has no significant barriers to entry for challengers

- The model has not proven out value-added for advertisers

- It is weakened by its lack of a cohesive growth strategy and functional mobile platform 

 

The primary demographic (teenagers and young adults) have already been saying for months, "Facebook is over."

 

Stock value $10-$15/share before year end.

Aug 2, 2012 4:53PM
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Isn't EVERYTHING about Facebook fake?  It was recently suggested that 80% of their advertising "clicks" were done by FB-owned roBOTS.  If so, revenue is fake, their advertisers expectations are fake, and the FTC chould be investigating their fake business practices.
Aug 2, 2012 10:28PM
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ALL a ruse to steal investor money by misstating earning and potential FAKE Book is nothing but a gossip soap opera of connections in a network...I should be worth 3.00 bucks.
Aug 2, 2012 8:21PM
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With 83 million fake accounts,how many were used to create the illusion of success,was the prospectus a sham,did they fudge figures?Did they fudge accounting?Is facebook a fake?Did zuckerburg pull off a super con?Is this the new DOT-COM  Burst Bubble?Did your broker sell you a pig in the poke?Have you all been had?Want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?
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Folks I hate to tell you but Facebook is one of the best sources of ID theft.  You enter your full name, address, date of birth, schools attended, childrens names, etc.  People can hack into your account and get all of this information.  I know because my account was hacked twice (2 times).  You enter this information so that your old friends can find you; however; your new ID theft friends are the ones that use this information.  I have asked more than once for them to delete my account, they never delete this information, it stays out there and if you go out to make sure it has been deleted then it reactivates your account.  In my opinion there are probably more than 83 million fake and/or inactive accounts.

 

Beware!

Aug 2, 2012 11:45PM
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Aspects that has always bothered me about FB are with many companies using it as a communicating link with the public, so that anyone wanting to particpate with the marketing/promotion/contest activities with that company HAS to establish a FB account of their own.

 

Another issue is with the "Like" button on the FB webpage.  Can't it also have a "dislike" and "indifferent" button choices?  Just having a "Like" button to click on gives the FakeBook user a distorted perspective from others.

Aug 3, 2012 1:17AM
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Facebook doesn't know what they have. They have first tried to force people to give them their cellphone numbers to verify identity. Only 1 cell number per account. If they didn't provide a number their accounts were closed as fake no questions asked. How many people don't have cell phones? So now just because you don't have a cell phone, or don't want them having that information for whatever they plan to use it for,  you lose your account as a fake account?
Now they are using some tool that seems to track IP addresses. People all over the internet are very upset that families with only 1 computer are being told they are fake accounts because they are using the same computer to log in. They are getting "multiple account warnings" with "delete" or "claim as main account", then all other family members accounts are disabled even though they are real. Many people have lost their real accounts because this new system is flawed. This has been going on for weeks and I have yet to see 1 story cover the many stressed and overwhelmed users who lost their honest accounts due to some failed attempt to validate accounts. I for one pay lots of money monthly to play games through them. If they take my account  I lose all my money, my game and it's just screw you, you have no way to contact us. It should be illegal. They need to stop blaming their users for their failed stock, and start looking at fixing all of the issues on their site that has their users unhappy. If the users are happy, they in turn would get better results. Why is it that no one covers these stories of how horrible they treat their users, how such a huge company that is positioning itself to be a staple in peoples lives, can deny any sort of customer support?

Aug 2, 2012 6:37PM
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deactivated about 6 months ago. just stupid **** over and over. hey! guess what? i still didn't get one phone call,text,email,or the "old fashioned" visit from any of my facebook friends.

how can that be? <---sarcasm.
Aug 2, 2012 5:14PM
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I call it SPACE BOOK & MY FACE.  But FAKEBOOk is good too. 

**** is worthless, a waste of time, and counter-productive for everyone. 

 

Aug 2, 2012 8:01PM
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Facebook. A few years back I invested in their advertising program. The number of clicks was quite impressive but zero clicks migrated to my business portal. It was the only avenue to not at least be a break even. I saw my ads, but no one I knew saw them, which I thought was suspicious. Many online social network portals have fake IDs. What doesn:t surprise me is that THREE major banks did the diligence before the IPO and none challenged the popularity validity. This is just another case for us to CLOSE THE BANKS. As for social networking in general... look out your window, the whole globe is collapsing from false, fake, phony and corrupt. Worry about the impact of Facebook addicts as we try to recover. It will be like concrete blocks being dragging along as they check their status every 5 minutes.
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