12th December 2012 - How to Spot a Fake Facebook User

As Facebook recently prepared to sell company stock for the first time, it was required to make numerous legal disclosures in Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Buried in the fine print was a bombshell: The social network has an estimated 83 million fake user profiles. This equates to nearly 9% of the social network's 955 million total users.

Facebook estimates roughly half of the fake users are duplicate accounts -- people who maintain more than one Facebook account. According to the company, the remaining fake users are believed to be spammers looking to commit "Like" fraud and companies who created profiles as people -- a violation of FB policy.

So how does one spot a fake Facebook user? Barracuda, the anti-virus company, recently published a study that analyzed over 2,500 fake FB user accounts. Several red flags were found:

  • 97% of fake users claim to be female. 40% of real users are female.
  • Nearly 60% of fake users state their sexual preference as both men and women. Just 6% of real users do.
  • The average fake user has 726 friends. The average real user has 130.

In summary, if a Facebook profile is for a bi-sexual woman with lots of friends, it's probably phony and caution should be taken.

More details on the Barracuda study can be seen here , and an infographic for the study here .

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