Facebook May Have Over 200 Million Fake or Duplicate Accounts Globally

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As many as 200 million accounts on Facebook are either fake or duplicate as on end December 2017 and India is among the countries which have a high number of such accounts, the social networking site said. “In the fourth quarter of 2017, we estimate that duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 10 per cent of our worldwide MAUs (Monthly Active Users),” Facebook said in its latest annual report. “We believe the percentage of duplicate accounts is meaningfully higher in developing markets such as India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as compared to more developed markets,” the report said. As of December 31, 2017, the social networking site had 2.13 billion MAUs, an increase of 14 percent from December 31, 2016.

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Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.86 billion as of December 31, 2016 with six percent or 114 million “duplicate accounts”. Users in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam represented key sources of growth in 2017, relative to the same period in 2016, it said. Worldwide Daily Active Users increased by 14 percent to 1.40 billion on average during December 2017 from 1.23 billion during December 2016. “Users in India, Indonesia, and Brazil represented key sources of growth in DAUs during December 2017, relative to the same period in 2016,” Facebook said. A duplicate account is one that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account.

While “false” accounts have been divided into two categories- user-misclassified accounts, where users have created personal profiles for a business, organisation, or non-human entity such as a pet and undesirable accounts, which represent user profiles that the site determine are intended to be used for purposes that violate FBs terms of service, such as spamming. “The estimates of duplicate and false accounts are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgement in making this determination,” it explained. The estimation of duplicate or false accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts and in particular, duplicate accounts are very difficult to measure at scale, and it is possible that the actual number of duplicate accounts may vary significantly from the estimates, it clarified.

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