In the recent Q3 2013 earnings call while Facebook posted $2.02 billion in revenue with earnings of $0.25 a share, the social network for the first time admitted that teens are showing less interest to the network. Now according to TOI, Facebook has also stated that an estimated 14.3 crore accounts on the popular social networking site Facebook may be false or duplicate, with a major chunk of them coming from developing markets like India and Turkey.
The network that boasts of having 728 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) for the quarter, a 25% increase on year-over-year (YOY), fake or duplicates accounts has been a known issue. However for the first time Facebook has accepted that the growth of fake accounts are more in developing countries like India and Turkey, as compared to developed markets UK and US.
“We estimate, for example, that duplicate accounts may have represented between approximately 4.3-7.9 percent of our worldwide Monthly Active Users (MAUs) during the nine months ended September 30, 2013,” was added by Facebook during the SEC filing for the quarter which ended on September 30, 2013.
Giving more details on how the social networking giant takes the false accounts into consideration, it added that, “We also seek to identify false accounts, which we divide into two categories – User-Misclassified accounts and Undesirable accounts.”
According to Facebook – User-Misclassified accounts is where users create personal profiles for a business, organization or non-human entity such as a pet. According to Facebook guidelines for such entities one should open up a business page rather than use personal profile.
Undesirable accounts are the ones that Facebook determines as intended to be used for purposes that violate its terms of service like spamming.
Based upon this, the network that witnessed 1.19 billion MAUs in Q3, an 18% increase on YOY, further shared in the filing, “During the nine months ended September 30, 2013, for example, we estimate user-misclassified accounts may have represented between approximately 0.8-2.1 per cent of our worldwide MAUs and undesirable accounts may have represented between approximately 0.4-1.2 per cent of our worldwide MAUs.”
Though Facebook has not given the exact percentage of fake users being piled up from individual accounts but it has been a flourishing business of buying likes from developing countries. On the contrary, Facebook has posted a robust growth with mobile leading with an approximate earnings of 49% of the advertising revenue. A positive growth of 8% compared to Q2 2013. The user base that saw a spike to 1.19 billion was aided by growth in emerging markets like India and Brazil.
It is becoming evident with every passing quarter that Facebook has to come up clear with real growth numbers minus the fake and duplicate accounts, while placing stronger checks to stop their growth, which is already being challenged with a new set of existing challenges.