Most if not all social networking sites, regardless of their popularity will have their share of fake user profiles. Companies will always try and detect these profiles and delete them as they are found but because these profiles can generate revenue for spammers, you commonly find spammers looking for new methods to get around the site’s detection systems.
It’s not very often that we get a glimpse into just how many fake profiles exist on a social networking site, but this morning, we do get some insight into the largest social networking site today, namely Facebook. During their first quarterly earnings report, we learnt quite a bit about the company. To begin with, the site has 955 million monthly users which is close to the one billion estimate that analysts had predicted for the company a few months ago. Approximately half of their user base or 543 million users use a mobile device such as a tablet or phone to access the site. Hence we can see just why Facebook is putting such an emphasis on mobile computing.
One of the other interesting tidbits to come out of this report was that 8.7% of all user accounts are fake profiles. This number has also increased since the March report when Facebook cited 5% to 6% as being fake. One may wonder just why fake profiles are on the increase, but part of this could be attributed to what is now considered fake with Facebook now including “undesirable” profiles and “user-misclassified”.
One of the takeaways from this exercise is to just be aware of you you are friending on Facebook. In many cases, it can be easy to spot fake accounts, but in some, this distinction between real and fake can be blurred.