Facebook: fake or duplicate accounts
Meta Platforms periodically evaluates its Facebook metrics to estimate the number of “duplicate” and “fake” accounts among its Monthly Active Users (MAU).
According to the company’s estimates, by Q4 2022, duplicate accounts could have accounted for approximately 11% of its global MAUs.
In particular, the percentage of duplicate accounts is significantly higher in developing markets, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, compared to more developed markets.
Also, in Q4 2022, Meta Platforms estimates that fake accounts could have accounted for about 4-5% of its worldwide MAUs.
Its estimate of fake accounts may vary as a result of episodic spikes in the creation of such accounts, which the company has seen originate more frequently in specific countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria and Vietnam.
A duplicate account is one that a user maintains in addition to their primary account.
Meta Platforms divides “fake” accounts into two categories:
- Misclassified user accounts, in which users have created personal profiles for a company, organization or non-human entity, such as a pet (according to its terms of service, these entities are allowed on Facebook using a page instead of a personal profile).
- Infringing accounts, which represent user profiles that we believe are intended to be used for purposes that violate your terms of service, such as bots and spam.
Facebook’s daily active users (DAUs) were 2.0 billion on average in December 2022, a year-over-year increase of 4 percent.
At the same time, Facebook’s MAUs were 2.96 billion as of December 31, 2022, up 2 percent, year-over-year.
Estimates of duplicate and fake accounts are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts, and Meta Platforms applies significant judgment in making this determination.
For example, to identify duplicate accounts the company uses data signals such as identical IP addresses and similar usernames, and to identify fake accounts it looks for names that look fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to reviewers.
Any loss of access to the data signals the company uses in this process, whether as a result of its own product decisions, actions of third-party browser or mobile platforms, regulatory or legislative requirements, or other factors, may also affect the stability or accuracy of duplicate and fake account estimates.
Also, Meta Platforms’ estimates may change as its methodologies evolve, including through the application of new data signals or technologies or product changes that may enable the Company to identify previously undetected duplicate or fake accounts and may improve its ability to assess a broader population of its users.
Duplicate and fake accounts are very difficult to measure at your scale, and it is possible that the actual number of duplicate and fake accounts varies significantly from your estimates.