Social Media

None of Your Facebook Friends Are Real

The social media company says there are more fake accounts in its system than it previous acknowledged.


Sex: Not anymore. Religious Views: Kind of disappointed. Political Views: Re-elect Richard J. Daley!

The next time you start talking to a stranger on Facebook, you might want to break out the Turing test. Mashable reports:

The number of fake accounts on Facebook is roughly the size of Egypt's population and larger than most of the world's countries, the company disclosed this week.

In a 10-Q filing, Facebook acknowledged that a total of 8.7%—or 83 million—accounts on the network are bogus. Of that 8.7%, 4.8% are duplicate accounts, 2.4% are user-misclassified accounts and 1.5% are "undesirable" accounts, a.k.a. spam.

In the 2008 elections, by contrast, the winning candidate received a little less than 67 million votes. If those social-media ghosts get organized, they could crush us like bugs.


NEXT: This Is How You Stick Up For Semi-Famous Writers Who Make Stuff Up and Lie About It

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  1. I have two facebook accounts. One is professional and family, and the other one is friends and acquaintances.
    I honestly don’t see what is objectionable about wanting to keep those two groups separate.
    Neither is “fake”, and nobody really puts everything about their lives up on their facebook page. There just happens to be some stuff that you do that you don’t necessarily want your boss or your mom knowing all about, and facebook’s privacy features are so inadequate it’s easier to just keep two accounts to be sure they are separated.

    1. facebook’s privacy features are so inadequate it’s easier to just keep two accounts to be sure they are separated.

      Even if it was adequate, it’s untrustworthy, as they change their policy all the time and it’s very hard to know what other things they’re revealing without your knowledge.

      1. Facebook for me these days is pretty much only for baby pics and then only because my wife tags me in hers. And stalking known female crossfitters…

    2. Wait, you actually post things on Facebook?

      All I use it for is a couple of games and to bug the shit out of my conservative/liberal friends when the post their idiotic “go team” bs.

      Oh I also follow the Cato, The Economist, Reason, Mises and a couple of other libertarianish or economics related blogs, but post something original myself, yeah not so much.

      1. For some reason I get a kick out the facebook comments to reason posts. It’s like facebook is populated by nothing but Washington Journal callers.

        1. So you’re the person who watches “Washington Journal”.

      2. Wait, you actually follow the The Ecommunist? I used to read it cover to cover many years ago, now it’s just another TEAM BLUE cheerleader, albeit more sophisticated than, say, Newsweek.

  2. Of that 8.7%, 4.8% are duplicate accounts, 2.4% are user-misclassified accounts and 1.5% are “undesirable” accounts, a.k.a. spam.

    But what about the other 91.3%, are those skynet?

    1. 11.3% are actual people who use it as an alternative form of communicating with remote friends and old acquaintances, 80% are attention-starved idiots.

      1. I was being pedantic. The way they wrote it 4.8% of the 8.7% are duplicate accounts (0.42% of total accounts).

  3. OK I’ll bite. What percent of HR commentor accounts are real?

    1. ..H and R…

      1. I miss ampersands.

    2. Has there ever been a Top 10 Best Hit and Run Trolls list?

      1. The best trolling is unrecognizable as such.

        1. This best trolls are the Arabic anon-bots that kept posting on the obscure articles pre-2005.

          1. …or the “nfl jerseys” anon-bot that posted on the old Julian Sanchez articles.

        2. That’s my motto.

      2. I nominate Organic Girl.

    3. OK I’ll bite. What percent of HR commentor accounts are real?

      All of them. No one here is pretending to be something they’re not.

      If you’re a fuckwit troll making shit comments, you’re a fuckwit troll making shit comments.

      1. Except for waffles and his sock puppets.

        1. Nope, they’re all real sockpuppets.

    4. 0%. We’re all just figments of Mary Stack’s imagination.

  4. Interesting timing on this article. I am not a Facebook user because of the egregious privacy issues. But I did set up a bogus account last year for the specific purpose of a one-shot attempt to locate an old friend. Used a real throw-away email address and a phony name (the one that went with that email address), birth date, etc. Tried to log onto it again last week for the first time in a year and the account had been cancelled – not for non-use but because, as FB informed me, it was a phony account! I found this very spooky. One of you FB/tech mavens care to tell me how FB knew the account was phony? And how does this jibe with FB’s apparent tolerance of those other 82.9999999 million bogus accounts?

    1. The other 82.99999 million bogus accounts still give them site hits. Yours only gave them one, so fuck you.

  5. I wish all of my fake friends would shut the fuck up about Chick-Fil-A. In a season sure to be filled with Stupid, the Chick-fil-A thing is the Cool Whip and cherry on top of a Stupid Sundae.

    1. I drove passed a Chick-fil-A yesterday to see if there were any lines. Sure enough, the drive-thru was backed up 10 to 15 cars. Also, the “Appreciation Day” got some attention from the late local TV news. I just thought it had to be embarrassing for the people who just wanted a Spicy Grilled Chick’n sandwich and weren’t looking to make a political statement.

      1. Not wanting to make a political statement is making a political statement.

        1. Even if all you wanted were some waffle fries? That’s a political statement?!

          1. They are making the statement that waffle fries should not be banned.

            1. Which pisses Bloomberg right the fuck off.

      2. On my Facebook feed, the Librul friends tried to say how crappy Chick-Fil-A’s food was anyway.

        Yeah fucking right. Chick-Fil-A is fucking delicious. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

        1. I’m with you on all counts here:

          1) Everyone STFU about Chick Fil A I don’t care FUCK!!! “The Cool Whip and cherry of…stupid…” lulz
          2) Chick Fil A is the shizznit. Delectable, fresh, never “soggy” (as some have claimed)….just crisp and delicious! You wanna not eat there? Fine. Moar for me!

        2. I suspect that a lot of your librul friends are stupid pretentious hipsters who only eat organic, fair trade, locally sourced blah blah blah WTF ever, crap. All the while looking down their smug little noses at anyone who eats *gasp* FAST FOOD.

          Which I could care less about their dietary choices if they’d just STFU about it already, and stop spewing their noxious smug into the air.

          1. Just about everything at Chick-Fil-A is organic, except for the salt and ice.

    2. Tell me about it.

      I keep wanting to ask them if they would be comfortable with their employer firing them for their political beliefs.

      I patronize or do not patronize an establishment based solely on the good/service they provide. I really don’t care what political views the owners/managers of that establishment have. When it comes to Fast Food frankly Chick Fil A has probably the 2nd best food of any national chain (Chipotle is better) and as such I wouldn’t care if they were a bunch of satan worshiping maoist Yankees fans I’m still gonna buy their food on occasion.

      1. Are Jack in the Box and Carls Jr. national?

        1. I’m in the Northeast and have never seen either one in person.

          1. There used to be a Jack-in-the-Box decades ago in Kingston, NY, and I presume in other places of the northeast. I never ate there.

        2. Yes, but in the East Carls Jr. is Hardees.

        3. No Jack-in-the-Box in FL. The nearest one to Tallahassee is on I-10 just into Lousiana. No, seriously, I googled it because I wanted JitB badly enough that I was considering making a roadtrip.

        4. No they are mostly in the west, with scattered representation elsewhere. Even Hardees which is related to them pretty much only exists in the South/Midwest.

          Up here in the Northeast as near as I can tell we havn’t got any of those brands.

          1. Ok. Then I agree with your assertion that Chick Fil A is a top two national brand.

      2. Personally, I refuse to buy anything from a store hideous enough to hire employees who would take part of their paycheck to patronize a store that is repulsive enough to hire someone who would use part of their paycheck to eat at Chick Fil A.

        1. I the tracking logrithm you clearly have to help you determine this.


    3. Chik-fil-A should capitalize on it with an ad campaign suggesting that the chickens and cows are manipulating the liberals and conservatives, respectively, behind the scenes, and laughing at all the retarded humans.

      1. Maybe something with a scene where the Cows and Humans are all eating together in the house, standing on two feet and wearing clothes.

  6. Why would you use Facebook to talk to strangers?

    1. To get laid? Just guessing here.

      1. I thought that’s what AdultFriendFinder was for?

        1. Facebook has more members.

          1. You said “members”….huh huh, huh huh, huh huh….

      2. That seems like the dumbest way to go about this.

  7. Well shit, does this mean the page for That guy in Karate kid that screams “Get him a body bag… Yea” isn’t real?

    1. Sweep the leg. You got a problem with that?

  8. Most of those “fake” accounts are duplicates created by people who send themselves gifts for their Cityville and Farmville games.

    1. Everything about that sentence makes me sad.

    2. It won’t be long before they are bots, used to “farm” Farmville gifts to give to facebook user in exchange for Warcraft gold.

  9. My wife set up a facebook account for one of our dogs. (He has more friends on Facebook than I do, btw) Most of his friends are other dogs of the same breed. Has Facebook included crazy shit like this in the statistics? Or is my dog’s account considered real?

    1. Most of his friends are other dogs of the same breed.

      Easily the most racist thing I’ve heard today. And I’ve heard a lot of racist things.

      1. I don’t know, John said “Coon” below. That’s so racist I didn’t even read the rest of his post.

        /hypersensitive moron

      2. It’s even worse. He’s a West Higland White Terrier.

        Can’t get much more racist than that, right?

    2. On the internet, everyone knows you’re a Labrador.

  10. Wait, people aren’t who they say they are on the internet!? NO FUCKING WAY DUDE!

  11. How many reason commenters are posting under fake names???

    1. You mean fluffy isn’t really named fluffy? I always figured he was a bored Maine Coon whose owners forgot to password protect the computer when they were at work.

        1. Extra racist. Although, at least it’s not a Maine Coon named Monday.

    2. w3@s3l is a fake name. kinnath is a real name, but not the one my momma gave me.

      1. So the squirrels decided the fake name need to be automatically converted to a “mail to” hyperlink.

  12. The number of fake accounts on Facebook is roughly the size of Egypt’s population and larger than most of the world’s countries, the company disclosed this week.

    I only have a fake facebook account. I would never put real information on facebook. Other people can see that shit.

  13. Oh, and how is this even news?

    “Public website which provides fields in which you can type shit has large amount of false information.”


    1. The fact that people are actually willing to buy that information is hilarious. I think Facebook’s numbers are a little on the low side.

  14. In a 10-Q filing, Facebook acknowledged that a total of 8.7% — or 83 million — accounts

    Wait… how does Facebook know this? Seriously? How do they know that an account on facebook called, “Chick Wilmington”, that has a portrait, likes, favorites, the whole shebang is “fake” or “real”?

    They must be using some test, some metric to come to that conclusion. I’d sure like to know what it is.

    1. That’s fucking funny.

  15. It cann’t be so clear as people like. It is quite normal!

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