Facebook filed new documents with the SEC this week that detail some interesting statistics about its user base.
Many people might be surprised to discover that 8.7 percent of all Facebook accounts are fake, duplicates or used for malicious purposes. This breaks down to 83 million accounts based on the stated user based of 955 million. This is a pretty dramatic increase over the figures Facebook released in March of this year. Facebook then estimated that the number of fake accounts to be 5 to 6 percent.
Facebook further classified the bogus user accounts in the following manner:
- 4.8 percent of all accounts are duplicates
- 2.4 percent are misclassified
- 1.5 percent are tagged as undesirable
Some quick mathematical calculation reveals that over 14 million accounts fall in the ‘undesirable’ category. These accounts are used by spammers, scammers and other cybercriminals.
With a falling stock price, and recent accusations from an advertiser alleging fraudulent ad clicks from bots, this is not good news for Facebook on many different levels. Facebook has never been great at monetizing its vast user base, and advertising is their primary source of revenue. The fact that bogus accounts are on the upswing could give current and potential advertisers pause when considering their ad budget for the platform.
Apart from financial pressure from investors, Facebook should be concerned with how these accounts affect the user experience. Recent reports state people are spending less time on Facebook, and many users complain about the amount of spam and scams encountered on the site.
Facebook’s first quarter as a public company has been a shaky one, but it’s still hard to bet against a company with almost a billion users and an unprecedented global influence.
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