Social networking giant Facebook has declared that its website may have over a 100 million ‘duplicate’ accounts, their percentage being the highest in developing markets like India and Turkey. This – not counting the 5 to 15 million ‘undesirable’ accounts registered with it worldwide, as per the company’s estimations.
Facebook said in its Form 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
There may be individuals who maintain one or more Facebook accounts in violation of our terms of service. We estimate, for example, that ‘duplicate’ accounts (an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account) may have represented between approximately 4.3% and 7.9% of our worldwide MAUs (Monthly Active User) in 2013.
See Also: Facebook – Form 10 K – Annual Report
As of March 31, 2014, the site has had 1.28 billion MAUs, an increase of 15% from March 31, 2013. Users in India and Brazil represented key sectors of growth in the first quarter of 2014 relative to the same period in 2013, the filing with SEC said.
In 2013, for example, we estimate user-misclassified accounts may have represented between approximately 0.8% and 2.1% of our worldwide MAUs and undesirable accounts may have represented between approximately 0.4% and 1.2% of our worldwide MAUs.
We believe the percentage of accounts that are duplicate or false is meaningfully lower in developed markets, such as the U.S. or U.K., and higher in developing markets such as India and Turkey. However, these estimates are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and we apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers.
As such, our estimation of duplicate or false accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts.
On the oft-reported and much debated slippage in teen users of the social network, Facebook said in its Form 10-K:
Our data limitations may affect our understanding of certain details of our business. For example, while user-provided data indicate a decline in usage among younger users, these age data is unreliable because a disproportionate number of our younger users register with inaccurate ages.
In the third quarter of 2013, we worked with third parties to develop models to more accurately analyze user data by age in the U.S. These models suggested that usage by U.S. teens overall was stable, but that DAUs among younger U.S. teens had declined. The data and models we are using are not precise, and our understanding of usage by age group may not be complete.
While the case of duplicate or fake accounts is nothing new, what surely is alarming is the huge increase in their numbers. Over the years, many of us have come to love Facebook and spend considerable amount of time on the world’s most popular social networking site.
Therefore it is all the more imperative that we think all the more carefully about our safety on Facebook and take appropriate steps to ensure that we aren’t giving away more information than we want to.