Facebook’s most recently filed finances contain a surprising fact: The world’s largest social network has 83.09 million incorrect accounts among its 955 million monthly active users–8.7% of its userbase. Questionable accounts, in Facebook’s mind, include a duplicate account alongside a user’s main one, a personal account set up for a business or something like a pet, or accounts that are responsible for abuse like spam (just 1.5% of Facebook’s monthly active user count fall under this last malicious category).
In context, Instagram–still not quite owned by Facebook–has just revealed that it has an installed user base of over 80 million users, and has been growing at a rate of around 10 million people a month over the last three months (roughly the period since Facebook’s acquisition plan was announced). In May it was reported that Twitter has 140 million active users. MySpace’s user base is said to be around 25 million people.
This means that there are more than three times as many fake people actively using Facebook each month in ways the company disapproves of than real people visiting the once-giant MySpace. You could also argue Facebook’s active “fakes” are equivalent to about two-thirds of the total monthly active users of its arch-rival Twitter. But a significant number of Twitter’s users would qualify as non-abusive “fakes” under Facebook’s definition because of the open nature of the service. Besides, fake accounts constitute an important part of Twitter’s character.
Facebook noted these questionable accounts in its quarterly financial report because the active user number influences revenue forecasts. Facebook’s ad service has recently suffered accusations that it is afflicted by bots, and it’s also been suggested that Facebook’s user base growth has significantly slowed down.