You know that cute boy from another state you friended back in high school? Yeah, they might not really exist.
Don’t misunderstand, though — not all of these fake accounts are made by people aiming to steal your money or load you with spam. That’s only about 1.5 percent of the 955 million monthly Facebook users. According to Facebook’s company filings (whose date is current up to June 30), about 4.8 percent of all Facebook profiles are just copies of other profiles. Which a lot of people do for pretty innocent reasons — you’re technically able to have one Facebook account that your parents/employer/stalker can see, and a whole other one that your real friends can comment on. And you have to account for the accounts people make for their pets or businesses. These account for the “user-misclassified accounts,” 2.4 percent of all accounts on Facebook. Once of which is my aunt’s pet chicken, Doll E. Parton. True story.
Facebook apparently finds fake accounts through tracking the activity of its users (which is creepy all by itself!), but there still isn’t a foolproof way to detect a fake account from one being run by a real person. Facebook even admits that these numbers may not be fully accurate! But all the same, it’s enough to tick off a lot of people. Not just people who use Facebook as an advertising tool, but people looking for new friends, coworkers located in a different city, or anyone who just hates useless stuff on the Internet.
I mean, I know it’s a big Internet out there. But come on, people. Don’t clog it up, please.