Facebook DOES NOT have 83 Million Fake Accounts, Relax

by Jason Keath on Aug 02, 2012
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Lots of blogs are reporting that Facebook has 83 million fake accounts. Or 8.7% of the 955 million monthly active Facebook users. Those are pretty scary numbers, especially for the millions of businesses that are marketing through the platform.

Except one thing, this is NOT true.

The numbers quoted represent duplicate accounts (4.8 percent), personal accounts that are actually businesses (2.4 percent), and real fake accounts (the spammers and bots we all hate).

Those first two categories are real people. There are a myriad of reasons why someone would have more than one Facebook account. I would wager most of those dups are teachers who need to keep an account for their school and a private one for friends and family.

Many Facebook users find a need for a professional and a private personal account. These are still valid and useful users for marketers.

The businesses with personal accounts are likely very small businesses for the most part, being managed by one active owner or employee. These are less valid targets for marketers, but still useful because there is a person actively engaged on the platform representing a group of targeting criteria. Less ideal than personal profiles, but still useful.

That last part, the real fake accounts, represent only 1.5% or 14 million. A big cry from 83 million.

These numbers are all real and come from Facebook’s recent 10-Q filing with the SEC. But it would be nice to see the numbers represented in a more useful manner.

If 1.5% of the Facebook users are fake, or spammers, I would say that is pretty good. Consider how much spam we see in email or on Twitter. Even Google search results have their share of crap web pages.


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CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...