How Accurate are Facebook’s User Numbers?

Dec 11, 2012

According to one Huffington Post writer, Facebook’s 1 billion user figures may be vastly overstated. Janet Tavakoli says that due to duplicate accounts, straight out fakes, and identity fraud, she estimates the social media giant’s use base to be more around the 500 million mark. She writes:

“Later, in its 10Q filing for the period ending June 30, 2012, Facebook "estimated" 8.7 percent fakes on a then reported even higher user base. This updated estimate also appears much too low to me. Based on my unscientific survey of 50 U.S. Facebook users and further publicly reported anecdotal evidence, Facebook's prospectus's representation of fakes may be off by a factor of ten.”

Who among us doesn’t know some who created a Facebook profile for a family pet? Certainly celebrities have multiple accounts, for their fans and for their “real” friends. Tavakoli’s estimates may not be any more accurate than Facebook’s but it’s certainly worth raising the questions.