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Fake profiles: Facebook has 83 million of them and counting


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters on July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Facebook advertisements have recently come under critical scrutiny.


Justin Sullivan

You know those Facebook friends of yours that write posts about how much they hate "fake people?"

There's an 8.7 percent chance that they're fake, too. In its company filings, Facebook says that it has more than 83 million fake profiles.

To deal with the problem the company separated the stray profiles into three categories: duplicate, misclassified and "undesirable" accounts.

"On Facebook we have a really large commitment in general to finding and disabling false accounts," chief security officer for Facebook Joe Sullivan told CNN.

"Our entire platform is based on people using their real identities."

Of Facebook's 955 million users, duplicate profiles make up 4.8 percent of the users, BBC News reported, and user-misclassified accounts amounted to 2.4 percent.

Another 1.5 percent of Facebook profiles were described as "undesirable." Ouch.

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The news comes after digital distribution firm Limited Press called out Facebook and announced that 80 percent of clicks on its Facebook ads came from fake users, the BBC reported.

In a post on its Facebook page, the firm posted: "Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn't reply."

Facebook's estimation of fake profiles marks a major jump from its last estimate in March, when it said that it had about 50 million fake users.

Facebook said that the fake accounts come mainly from developing countries, rather than more developed markets.

"We believe the percentage of accounts that are duplicate or false is meaningfully lower in developed markets such as the United States or Australia and higher in developing markets such as Indonesia and Turkey," said the company, reported CNN

"Does this mean that a huge amount of fake accounts were created over the last five months? Not really: Facebook is simply being more transparent when it comes to specifying which false accounts it is tracking," CNET wrote