Posted August 3, 2012 3:18 pm by with 0 comments

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One of the downsides to being a public company is that it’s harder to keep company secrets, secret. This week, a Facebook public filing revealed that 8.7% or approximately 83.09 million accounts are fake.

What does Facebook consider a fake or false account?

Duplicates (4.9%)

Though it’s not allowed, many people have more than one account. Some do this, not for defrauding purposes, but to keep parts of their lives separate. Many avid Facebook gamers create additional accounts so they can friend themselves inside games in order to get bonuses and advance the game. (A problem that would be solved if Facebook would stop forcing in-game friending.)

Misclassified (2.4%)

These are profiles that should be pages such as businesses, organizations, pets, or inanimate objects. (Ode to a Chair!)

Undesirables (1.5%)

I love the word. It reminds me of the teenage hot-rodders in fifties horror movies. You know, the ones who listen to that gosh awful rock and roll while hanging out in the Tasty Freeze parking lot until eleven.

Facebook says they’re profiles that violate the terms of service such as spam sites. They don’t mention explicit sexual content or hate content, but certainly they fall into this category as well.

They don’t have a category for the young kids who have lied about their ages to create an account, but they’re fake in their own way.

According to CNET, Facebook’s last estimation, which they released in March, said their phony account number was between 5% and 6%. Now, it’s 8.7%? That’s a big hop on the landing. But it’s not that they’ve had an increase in phony activity, it’s just that they’re being more thorough in their reporting.

Bottom line is, how does this affect the marketer? Technically, it means that if you buy an ad, you’re paying for fraudulent views. But does it matter? Facebook says they have 955 million monthly users, but if a person comes by once a month to read an update from a friend, is that getting your money’s worth?

Of all the social media sites, Facebook does the best job of keeping people honest but when there are rules, folks are going to break them. In the big picture, I don’t think that 8.7% (or even double that, which is probably closer to the truth) is that big of a problem. On the other hand, if Facebook would like to lower their ad prices by 8.7% to compensate, I’m okay with that, too.

What do you think? Does Facebook’s fake estimation turn you off from Facebook ads or not?