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Facebook admits to 270 million fake accounts

Facebook has admitted that up to 270 million of its 2.07 billion users are either duplicates used by real people, or fake accounts.

Announcing its third-quarter results, which saw a 79 per cent jump in advertising revenue, the social media giant tried to hide the fact there are millions more fake and duplicate Facebook accounts than it had previously estimated.

The number of duplicate accounts increased to 10 per cent from 6 per cent. Additionally, 2-3 per cent of the social platform’s monthly users were estimated to be fake accounts, up from 1.5 per cent previously estimated.

Facebook attributes a new methodology for measuring duplicate accounts, including the improvement to the data signals it relies on, as the reason for the variance in its estimates.

The number of inaccurate claims and miscalculated metrics, paired with the prevalence of fake news, has acted as a catalyst for NewsMediaWorks to launch AdTrust – a campaign that looks at the trust and credibility of news media brands.

The news of the discrepancies follows the investigation into Facebook’s role in Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and the spread of misinformation.

Facebook’s mistake follows a long trail of data-related errors. Earlier in the year, the company was in hot water after advertising groups accused it of claiming more young adult users in the US than are listed by the Census Bureau. Similarly, Facebook reported that the platform could reach 1.7 million more millennial users than Australia’s population.

In May, Facebook admitted an error within its advertising products, forcing the company to refund hundreds of advertisers. Within the last 12 months, Facebook also revealed misallocations in several responses to live videos, and admitted that it had overstated metrics to advertisers by as much as 55 per cent.

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