In Facebook filings published this week, it said 8.7% of its 955 million active users might not be real, reports BBC.
Duplicate profiles made up 4.8% of the fakes, user-misclassified accounts amounted to 2.4%, and 1.5% of users were described as “undesirable.”
There are 83.09 million fake users in total, which the company classified in three groups.
The largest group of “fakes” were duplicates, which Facebook defined as “an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account.”
According to Daily Mail, other imaginary users were described as “user-misclassified” where, Facebook said “users have created personal profiles for a business, organisation, or non-human entity such as a pet.”
And, finally, “undesirable” accounts were profiles deemed to be in breach of Facebook’s terms of service. Usually, this means profiles which have been used for sending out spam messages or other content.
The admission comes as Facebook is trying to recover from a shambolic public offering.
The company, whose business model relies on targeted advertising, is coming under increased scrutiny over the worth of its advertising model which promotes the gathering of “likes” from users.
“We generate a substantial majority of our revenue from advertising,” Facebook said in its filing.
“The loss of advertisers, or reduction in spending by advertisers with Facebook, could seriously harm our business.”
A BBC investigation last month concluded that a a great number of fake profiles was a major cause for concern for Facebook advertisers, although the firm told the BBC it had “not seen evidence of a significant problem.”
The BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones set up a fake company called VirtualBagel to investigate allegations of fake “likes”.
His investigation came to the conclusion that the large majority of “likes” for the fake firm originated from the Middle East and Asia.
Moreover, last week, digital distribution firm Limited Press stated that, based on its own analytics software, 80% of clicks on its advertisements within Facebook had come from fake users.
Facebook commented in a blogpost: “Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply.
“Do we know who the bots belong too [sic]? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes.”
What is more, earlier this week, the Student Press Law Center covered a story out of Texas involving two young teens being charged for making a fake Facebook profile.
According to The Huff Post report, the girls, 12 and 13, stand accused of Online Impersonation, a law that appears to have been designed to prevent identity theft.
Other than a very general description of the profile — that it purported to be from another student at the school and it made remarks law enforcement sources describe as having “damaged the victim’s reputation” — no information has been released.
It is unknown if the girls are even still in custody, or have had a hearing of any kind, or if instead they are being held without any process and any timeline for a process.