Facebook have acknowledged that around 8.7% of its 955 million accounts are not real. This equates to around 83 million accounts, which means that fake Facebook accounts outweigh the population of Germany! When they filed for their IPO back in April, Facebook admitted that roughly 5/6% of its accounts were bogus or duplicates.
This means that the actual figures are around 40 million higher than originally implied. Of that, 1.4% are spam accounts, 4.8% are duplicate and 2.4% are user-misclassified. Thoughts seem to be that an estimated 23 million have been made for people pets, businesses, potted plants, body parts and other non-human entities, whilst only 1.5% are actually used for spam. This would mean that the published active user’s figure of 955 million users would actually be more like 872 million when you take all this in to account.
With the increasing value of ‘social activity’ in today’s SEO campaigns, who is to say the use of fake accounts is not going to grow. Blackhat SEO practitioners are always going to be around looking for the next way to cheat Google. We are already seeing an increasing number of services offering the facility to buy Facebook friends and likes. Surely the amount of bogus profiles will grow to support the new demand, as people battle for quick and cheap search engine rankings.