Facebook has termed “unequivocally false” a report that claims the social networking platform hosts one billion fake accounts, a media report said. According to a Daily Mail report, a former classmate of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the social media giant hosts one billion fake accounts on its platform, or 50 percent of its total users worldwide.
In a 70-page report titled “Reality Check”, Aaron Greenspan, who attended the Harvard University with Zuckerberg from 2002 to 2004, claimed that Facebook has been inflating its global user count since 2004.
He also alleged that he was the founder of the original Facebook and was paid an undisclosed settlement from Facebook in 2009 over his claims. “Facebook has been lying to the public about the scale of its problem with fake accounts, which likely exceed 50 percent of its network,” Greenspan said in the report.
“Its official metrics — many of which it has stopped reporting quarterly — are self-contradictory and even farcical.” However, Facebook has denied the findings.
“This is unequivocally wrong and responsible reporting means reporting facts, even if it’s about fake accounts,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying to the Daily Mail. Greenspan cited a rise in the number of duplicate and user-misclassified and undesirable accounts on Facebook which the company began reporting several years ago in its quarterly earnings results.
In the second quarter of 2017, Facebook reported that duplicate accounts or “an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account”, comprised six percent of its global monthly active users (MAUs).
“User-misclassified and undesirable” accounts, which are those made for spamming or for a non-human entity such as a pet, made up one percent of worldwide MAUs in the quarter.
Graphs from Facebook’s transparency portal show that fake accounts it took action against comprised 32.6 percent of users in the last quarter of 2017. In the third quarter of 2018, that number rose to 33.2 percent of monthly active users.
However, Facebook’s most recent reporting shows otherwise. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company estimates that between three to four percent of accounts on the website are fake, which is a significantly lower percentage than Greenspan’s estimated 50 percent, the report stated.