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Facebook Estimates Around 10% of Accounts Are Fake

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the niws-discovers-facebook dept.

Facebook 140

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, during its fourth-quarter earnings report, Facebook revealed it had 1.23 billion monthly active users, 757 million daily active users, 945 million monthly active mobile users, and 556 million daily active mobile users. In its 10-K filing published on the weekend, the company estimated that in 2013, between 5.5 percent and 11.2 percent of these users were fake." Another anonymous reader sent in a link to a recent interview where Mark Zuckerberg appears more pragmatic in his opinions about forcing real identities online: "Former Facebook employees say identity and anonymity have always been topics of heated debate in the company. Now Zuckerberg seems eager to relax his old orthodoxies. 'I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things,' he says. 'If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.'"

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Right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46145855)

In reality, it's more like 50%.

Re:Right (3, Funny)

dccase (56453) | about 7 months ago | (#46146077)

Certainly 50% of mine are fake.

And the other one is slightly exaggerated too.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146533)

So you only have two accounts.

Re:Right (2)

dccase (56453) | about 7 months ago | (#46146791)

One about "me", and one that "Like"s crap in order to get other crap for free,

There are probably reasons to have others but I don't think I care enough.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147487)

Facebook associates fake accounts to people with "real" profiles. (In most cases this is trivial because people do not clear out cookies, plus they have your IPs.)

The 10% probably refers to people like me. I have one fake FB account which I use at work for testing purposes and otherwise have their shit completely blocked.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147817)

Tor + incognito mode.

I can play that game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147889)

Tor + incognito mode + proxy

Re:I can play that game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148239)

Tor + incognito mode + proxy

If your proxy or UA strips out UA string, and have no plugins, you are getting there. It is possible to server-side fingerprint users from UA string, info from plugins etc. with scary accuracy.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146269)

Aye, like mine...and about half the people I know.
My FB account is rather Greek looking in character, alas, 'tis a pity from their datamining POV I'm not.

and as I usually come in via proxies if I need to access FB, they don't even get which country I'm currently in either.

Poor poor them..

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147199)

Kate Hudson (Not Goldie Hawn's daughter) has 50 million twitter followers which puts her ahead of Stefanie Germanotta with 43 million.

1. How many of them are real?
2. Does twitter give a rat's ass about fake accounts?
3. Do the Winkelhof twins?

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147517)

In reality, it's more like 50%.

When I saw the headline, just after waking up, I misread it as "around 100%" and I wasn't the least bit surprised.

Re:Right (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 months ago | (#46147519)

And who really cares? It may be 10% of the accounts that are obviously fake, then there are probably a huge number of accounts that are "fake" in the way that the person behind it don't want to reveal the real identity for one reason or another but holds a low profile.

Facebook is a pool for exhibitionists.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148025)

here's a few numbers... 7.2 billion people on the planet at mid-2013
ref: http://www.state.gov/secretary... [state.gov]

61% of the *global* population in 2013 did not even use the internet.
ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

that leaves 2.8 billion internet users, of which facebook claims 1.23 billion are regular (monthly) logged in users.

i call bullshit. 44% of the total global internet-using population is NOT ON FACEBOOK. of those 1.23 billion regular (at least monthly users), i'd say at LEAST your estimate of 50%, if not two-thirds, are bullshit or fake accounts of some sort or another.

For Testing (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 7 months ago | (#46145871)

I have a fake account for testing. It would be much simpler if they made testing as simple as companies like Stripe. Until then... fake accounts.

Re:For Testing (5, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | about 7 months ago | (#46145957)

What's a fake account? I have a regular one, for everyone, then I have one for competitions and the like, where you have to `like` something to enter. Clearly I'm not going to do this on my normal account because it'll spam all my contacts and I'll look like a twat. What do they expect you to do? But it's not "fake" - it's got my name on it (sort of). I do the same for Twitter, but I don't recall having to pretend that my second (or my first, come to that) Twitter account was "mine".

Re:For Testing (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46146045)

What's a fake account?

Given their terms of service your testing account is almost certainly fake. If you only look at it to "like" stuff that you don't even care enough about to do so publicly, its fake, (as is your "like").

I only know a few people with facebook accounts who don't have a second so-called "testing" account, plus a couple accounts they started and then abandoned.

So I'm thinking the 50% number is closer to the mark than the 10%

Re:For Testing (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46146393)

> If you only look at it to "like" stuff that you don't even care enough about to do so publicly, its fake, (as is your "like").

It's a "like" that was unabashedly purchased from a user, how real could it possibly be?

Re:For Testing (0)

isorox (205688) | about 7 months ago | (#46147261)

What's a fake account?

Given their terms of service your testing account is almost certainly fake. If you only look at it to "like" stuff that you don't even care enough about to do so publicly, its fake, (as is your "like").

I only know a few people with facebook accounts who don't have a second so-called "testing" account, plus a couple accounts they started and then abandoned.

So I'm thinking the 50% number is closer to the mark than the 10%

I only knew a few people with facebook accounts who have a second "testing" account, so I'm thinking the 1% number is closer to the mark than 10%

See how the plural of anecdote is not data?

Re:For Testing (-1, Flamebait)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46146165)

If you have a facebook account, you already look like a twat so I'm not really sure why you're holding back when it comes to clicking the "like" button. :-)

Re:For Testing (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 7 months ago | (#46147849)

you do realise those competitions where you have to like the page and share it are fake now don't you? No one ever really wins them. It's just a means of harvesting live FB accounts so they can then tag spam others.

Re:For Testing (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 7 months ago | (#46146001)

I would never trust a "testing" account 100% and there is always more than one way for something to break
so you're never going to eliminate fake testing accounts. That being said I doubt developers make up a
large percentage of the "fake" accounts and I bet there are more "duplicate" accounts than fake accounts
though. It seems like alot of kids create multiple accounts, abandon old accounts and create new ones,
etc...

Re:For Testing (1)

tylersoze (789256) | about 7 months ago | (#46146161)

Yeah same here the only reason I have a Facebook account is for testing FB integration in mobile apps.

translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46145879)

"come on, kids, don't run away because you think it's only old fogies using real names on FB" - Zuck

All about the money (1)

MLCT (1148749) | about 7 months ago | (#46145895)

Now Zuckerberg seems eager to relax his old orthodoxies

Of course he does - if 10% are fake then he wants that 10% included in his figures, not excluded.

Re:All about the money (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 months ago | (#46146993)

I wonder if that 10% counted as 'fake' include or exclude multiple PR=B$ accounts or are they counted as real.

The answer has always been, force a real identity to open the account but allow the account to publicly operate under as an avatar identity as well as the real identity and allow the user to choose which they are using but for safeties sake default to the avatar.

They know your name anyway (5, Insightful)

DMiax (915735) | about 7 months ago | (#46145897)

At this point, they will get to your name in any case. They have accumulated such a massive data base that they will identify you in a number of other ways. Your real name will eventually leak to them through your friends or because they match it with your name.surname@gmail.com address, or mining your company's staff page, or because you pay something with your credit card, etc... Plus a ton of other things.

Just because you don't have your real name there it does not mean they don't know who you are. It might help gainst other parties data mining/stalking you, though.

Re:They know your name anyway (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46146063)

At this point, they will get to your name in any case.

Exactly.

And worse, this is true even if you have NEVER signed up for facebook, because all of the idiots that use facebook for their address book, on their phone, so they even have your number, and names and numbers of everybody else in these fool's contact list and the ability to cross reference them all.

Re:They know your name anyway (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147551)

And worse, this is true even if you have NEVER signed up for facebook, because all of the idiots that use facebook for their address book, on their phone, so they even have your number, and names and numbers of everybody else in these fool's contact list and the ability to cross reference them all.

Some of us choose friends in a more discriminating manner.

It doesn't seem like this has occurred to you as an option.

Re:They know your name anyway (1)

antdude (79039) | about 7 months ago | (#46148631)

Is there a way to find out who did it?

Re:They know your name anyway (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46148639)

The EU is investigating their creation of shadow profiles, and you should write to your MEP to ask them to support this effort.

Re:They know your name anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146407)

Who cares? Sure, "the system" can find my real name, but idiot potential employers and enemies of my past won't find me, and that's what counts.

Re:They know your name anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146935)

Just because you don't have your real name there it does not mean they don't know who you are.

... but that's what I keep telling Facebook support, that my real name actually is drop database %. Its French or Spanish or something.

Re:They know your name anyway (2)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 7 months ago | (#46147353)

I have a real account, and I manage a couple groups. One (a local bike ride) receives a steady stream of requests for new members to join the group. Half of these are fake Chinese or Indian accounts - it's obvious from their profiles. The rest are real local folks. I have no idea how that maps into the total number of fake IDs.

Re:They know your name anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147697)

But they will continue using inflated user numbers. 1 billion users sound far more impressive than 500 million.

Re:They know your name anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148005)

Don't worry. They like it. I have two accounts because one I lost the password. Tried getting the old one deleted after several years of never logging in... no response at all.

Re: They know your name anyway (1)

Han Cnx (3525279) | about 7 months ago | (#46148095)

If they tightened up security better then many people wouldn't need a secondary "fake" account. This is after I pointed out a super easy trick to Facebook that will quickly give you the full friend list of a user, even if that person set visibility of his friend list to 'only me' and even if you're not friends with that person. (Not would they know that you acquired their friend list). Facebook claim that users shouldn't expect your friend list to be private, which makes it all the more misleading to offer restricted visibility of tour friends list. Broken / misleading security is a lot worse than no security, i.e. just telling people everyone can obtain their full friends list. This trick exists to this day, had not been addressed or even acknowledged as valid. So much for helping out Facebook through contacting them.

Re:They know your name anyway (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 7 months ago | (#46148453)

Why would they even care about your name? They're not the NSA.

They can pinpoint your demographic. That's enough for them.

Real identities are dangerous (2, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 7 months ago | (#46145909)

Yeah sometimes its necessary. A friend of mine has been stalked by a Neo Nazi gang for some time after she spoke out somewhere about racism. Death threats, and so on (Neo nazis are one of the nastiest organized crime things I've ever seen!). She has *very good* reason to want to be anonymous and use a fake name on facebook only known to family and close friends.

Its *dangerous* to force real identities on people.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46145953)

Its *dangerous* to force real identities on people.

Where do you live? I'm not aware of any country that requires all its citizens to have a Facebook account.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146039)

If you want a job in the US past flipping burgers, you have to have a FB account.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146155)

Job requirement? Where the fuck to you live and work? Other than someone involved with marketing/sales or social media/web related, what job requires a FB account?

Small business where everybody does marketing (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46146859)

Other than someone involved with marketing/sales or social media/web related, what job requires a FB account?

One with an employer whose HR department decided that Facebook abstainers are suspicious [slashdot.org] . Or in a small business where everybody has to pitch in on the social marketing.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146171)

I work a high paying, gold collar contract job for the US government and have never had a Facebook account.

You're an idiot.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146481)

Um... no. Not even close.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146491)

I predict that this is snark.

It's certainly possible that you might be discriminated against for not providing such information, as a relatively young person, but I seriously doubt that such discrimination is particularly common. This is most likely a comment on Facebook becoming annoyingly ubiquitous.

Re:Real identities are dangerous (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 7 months ago | (#46146635)

(Neo nazis are one of the nastiest organized crime things I've ever seen!

I'm not doubting their nastiness, but how many "organized crime things" have you had dealings with?

Re:Real identities are dangerous (2, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 7 months ago | (#46146963)

I deal with two routinely: our State and Federal government (Downunder not murrican versions)

Re:Real identities are dangerous (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147245)

They are very nasty. One of my best friends has been brainwashed by a group of them in Oregon. He started out mildly conservative, but after an increasingly poor series of choices he was left in pretty hard times, and listened to LOTS of right wing radio. He was given right wing propaganda to read (often disguised as gun magazines) and preach to other students at his school. After he dropped out in the final months, he pretty much became a raving lunatic. I can't really blame him, he was a war veteran and his $100k+ student loans (after the GI bill payments) didn't get him the piece of paper, although he did drop out on his own.

The weirdest, and I think most telling, thing: He would watch interracial porn just to rile himself into a rage. According to him it's not uncommon at all with others in the "movement".

I haven't associated with him in years due to being unable to tolerate his increasingly poor choices in life and abject failure to take responsibility for his life.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46145935)

Maybe people have been taking the advice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz and quit using the face book

The Daily Doof: The Face Book [youtube.com]

real ids? no need... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46145945)

He has only relaxed his desire for id because the meta inferences he and the company can make are actually better then trusting people to type their real names.

I do not use facebook anymore!

Define "fake" (5, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | about 7 months ago | (#46145965)

If I put up a Facebook page for my cat, is that considered a fake account? No fake identities have been used, though perhaps the T&S require all users to be human.

What about people who have two FB profiles - eg one filled with gaming apps and all the crap that comes along with it, and the other for socialising?

Re:Define "fake" (3, Funny)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46146217)

If I put up a Facebook page for my cat, is that considered a fake account? No fake identities have been used, though perhaps the T&S require all users to be human.

What about people who have two FB profiles - eg one filled with gaming apps and all the crap that comes along with it, and the other for socialising?

Is your cat 13 years old or older? I don't think they require you to be human, but they do have an age requirement. Maybe your pet turtle would be a better choice...?

Re:Define "fake" (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46146327)

They never said "human" years vs. "dog" or "cat" years did they?

Re:Define "fake" (2)

Mashdar (876825) | about 7 months ago | (#46146763)

They never said Earth years for that matter. Pick whatever periodic event you like!

Re:Define "fake" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147975)

They never said Earth years for that matter. Pick whatever periodic event you like!

Sure, try that...

"I'm sorry officer, you said 55mph... and 24 hours in a day... we're talking Earth days here?"

I wanna know if you get a speeding ticket after.

Re:Define "fake" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148559)

Facebook has been expanding recently, I see. Is this a US-only thing, or does Facebook own police forces in other countries too?

Re:Define "fake" (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46146875)

An "account" has a name, mobile phone number,* e-mail address, and password. Each account can be the maintainer of one or more "pages" separate from the account's own timeline.

* Not all accounts have the mobile phone number filled in, but several Facebook privileges are off limits to users who have not verified ability to receive SMS at a particular number that is globally unique among Facebook users [facebook.com] .

Translating to real-life (5, Funny)

ctheme (2694307) | about 7 months ago | (#46145971)

Does this mean that 10% of my friends aren't really my friends?

Re:Translating to real-life (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146121)

Given most people overestimate friends vs acquaintances, I'd say it's closer to 90% aren't really friends.

Fake is another word for Stop Being Pervy (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 months ago | (#46145973)

A lot of so-called "fake" accounts were created because FB is way too pervy, wanting to know enough information about you that they can sell it to content aggregators.

So one creates "fake" accounts with no real phone number attached and a generic image to stop FB from being too NSA.

Maybe they should back off. Everyone is leaving fast because their perv-quotient is way too high.

Re: Fake is another word for Stop Being Pervy (1)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 7 months ago | (#46146867)

Facebook is the NSA, different name, same modus operando, no firewall between the two.

You young'uns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147343)

The internet was built on pseudonyms and anonyms. Way back when we communicated via usenet everybody was free to post under their real name or a pseudonym. No questions asked! These companies that have cropped up over the past 10 years demanding real IDs are undermining the foundations of the internet while building on the work of everyone who built the internet, for next to free... The question shouldn't be what account is fake, but why "fake" should even come up in the context of the internet.

Ya think, Zuck? (4, Insightful)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 7 months ago | (#46146013)

If Zuckerberg is publically acknowledging 10% then you can be sure it's a lot higher than that. I'd peg it at closer to 25%. But that's not the real issue. The real issue is that, due to FB's policies, legitimate users feel compelled to put in fake names, birthdates, locations, schools, employers, etc. Why? Because of FB's continued and well documented history of deceptive security practices. You cannot trust them and it's one of the main reasons I don't use facebook.

In short, the users don't want to give up their accounts entirely (although I'm sure many have) but remain there with a fake identity. So the question then becomes: for a company like FB where almost 100% of their revenue comes from advertising how effective is it when you are advertising to zombie accounts?

Re:Ya think, Zuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146777)

The real issue is that, due to FB's policies, legitimate users feel compelled to put in fake names, birthdates, locations, schools, employers, etc. Why? Because of FB's continued and well documented history of deceptive security practices.

Uhm... I don't trust any site - for the most part - that asks for DOB, locations, schools, employers,et cetera. Why? Because they don't need to know (aside from e-commerce needing delivery address and card verification info).

Except perhaps job applications (2)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#46146899)

I don't trust any site - for the most part - that asks for DOB, locations, schools, employers,et cetera. Why? Because they don't need to know

Onilne job applications ask for location, experience, and education. But I guess they're an example of a site outside "the most part" because HR does in fact "need to know" who is most likely to have the skills to be useful in the position and least likely to need a signing bonus to cover relocation.

Re:Ya think, Zuck? (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | about 7 months ago | (#46147023)

due to FB's policies, legitimate users feel compelled to put in fake names, birthdates, locations, schools, employers, etc.

Or in fact not put most of those in at all. Facebook is still trying to guess which continent I live on (it occasionally asks if I live in cities related to my friends list). I haven't given any info about education, work or interests (although I'm sure there's a big profile on what interests me based on what I click on).

Re:Ya think, Zuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147235)

I know tons of people that use fake names on facebook (both entirely fake and simply slightly modified) to make it harder to be facestalked. Then there's the performers using stage names.

Re:Ya think, Zuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147897)

"So the question then becomes: for a company like FB where almost 100% of their revenue comes from advertising how effective is it when you are advertising to zombie accounts?"

I thought we were talking about fake accounts. Why do you bring up the real ones?

That makes sense (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146015)

"between 5.5 percent and 11.2 percent of these users were fake."

I assume they are just counting the entire Los Angeles population right? ;-)

I have a "fake" account for trolling. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146083)

Too many sites are converting to Facebook for comments, so I participate with my fake account.

It's not really a range. (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46146103)

They'll use 11.2% when valuating their user base to dodge as much tax as possible and 5.5% to push up the price they charge advertisers.

Not mine (4, Funny)

tylersoze (789256) | about 7 months ago | (#46146145)

I'm a 104 year old man born in Antarctica currently residing in the North Sentinel Islands. I graduated from Columbine High School at the age of 1 and went to Miskatonic University in Arkham Massachusetts.

Re:Not mine (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about 7 months ago | (#46146771)

They used to change the maximum age every year. Hurt my feelings.

(obligatory Will Ferrell) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147037)

I'm not even mad. That's amazing.

Re:Not mine (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 months ago | (#46147459)

I at least make my fake account sound plausible.

Re:Not mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147783)

so long as they can get you to purchase "cthulhu for president" coffee mugs and LONE NUT magazine, they should be happy.

You only need to look at the comments (1)

Haoie (1277294) | about 7 months ago | (#46146313)

Half of all comments on any given status by a celebrity or famous page will be "I work from home and make millions!"

This just in: Statistics are colorful lies. (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46146389)

Facebook counts the profiles of persons no longer on the planet, people that have created a page and not been there since, and people that have tried to "quit" their site for as long as I can remember. When people want something to look a certain way, they hire statisticians to make it look that way.

There was a report last year that Facebook had 1.2 billion people signed on, which is laughable. The largest populations in the world (India and China) do not have a majority that can use the internet, hundreds of millions in other countries are banned from this (most of Africa and the Middle East), and other people just don't give a shit (majority of Eastern Europe).

I'm pretty sure another report near the same time claimed that 50% of the accounts on FB were not people at all. Some of that 50% were companies, and a big chunk went to sock puppets, trolls, and scams.

I'm guessing that is why FB decided to try and make themselves look "good", but people are still going to leave. If you are not a security minded old codger like me, FB is no longer "hip" and "cool".

Consider trans* people (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146403)

(Posted anonymously to protect my male identity.)

I'm a transgendered individual, and I maintain my original Facebook profile in my real name, and a separate Facebook profile in my femme name. The two profiles are not connected. I use neither of them for troll or spam purposes, but merely to reflect the two different halves of "me," and I don't consider either one to be "fake." I've little doubt, however, that Facebook would think of my femme profile as "fake," though it's backed with real friends, real photos, and mostly-valid personal data that I've entered, albeit with a gender of "female."

If Facebook is really considering relaxing being so fussy about "real identities," it can only help me and others like me.

Re:Consider trans* people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146975)

If Facebook is really considering relaxing being so fussy about "real identities," it can only help me and others like me.

I hope it works out well for both of you.

Re:Consider trans* people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147477)

IMO is fake until you get the snip-snip. Until then it's just you trying out a new persona.

Companies getting private info is a lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146423)

Almost everyone on my "friend list" including myself use fake names and we're fairly active. I used to change my username (as well as others) fairly frequently but now I'm stuck with the last anime name I used because facebook wants to force identity. I think now they realized that people don't like this and it may be one of the reasons that people are moving away from facebook entirely and I don't mean to Google+ either since they mandate full names as well. But there's something that bugs me. People keep saying you can buy their data but I can't for the life of me find out where that is? Same with Google, there's no such place to sell that information. I've sold ads on both Google and Facebook and never once have I been able to see personal information. The best help I've received in reaching a target demographic was with Bing but that's only based on search terms. Do I have to have a rich company and attend a secret facebook/google mixer on a yacht like in a movie in order to get my hands on people's private info? The only people that I know that gets private info with ease are the government. I don't care about really getting the info, I just want to know whether this myth is true or not.

Re:Companies getting private info is a lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147289)

Nope, you just need a developer account. Then you can make those apps that everyone clicks on and puts their social security number into to win an iPad!!! and collect data that way.

Seriously though, most of that data is publicly available with a developer account. You can search for keywords in public posts, and they all have all the users data attached. A lot of the privacy features FB has added over the years has primarily been to reduce network effects from THAT angle; there was a period when you could get a LOT more information about people who used your app, including almost all the information about their entire friend list.

Re:Companies getting private info is a lie? (2)

fractoid (1076465) | about 7 months ago | (#46147667)

Forcing people to use their real names online in a publicly accessible way is a terrible idea and will scupper your company. Facebook knows this because Google+ was/is arguably a better product, and was taking off fast, until Google started trying to force real names. Overnight, anyone with any kind of privacy concerns stopped using it and, despite Google still trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to ram Google+ down our throats any way it can, it's not really taking off.

"too little, too late" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46146469)

Zuckerberg is probably only saying that due to people abandoning Facebook. Although that large number of active but fake accounts does kind of show that the whole "real identity" thing was useless.

There might be a problem with relaxing "identity rules," though, as I expect they are somewhat comforting to the older crowd that have migrated to Facebook. And the older crowd represents a huge proportion of Facebook activity at this point.

The pressure of real identity (4, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#46146919)

If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.

Exactly. That's why I post here so often as Anonymous Coward.

Re:The pressure of real identity (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 months ago | (#46147481)

I don't even understand what he means by "the pressure of real identity", this just sounds like a statement designed to manipulate.

Identity? (5, Interesting)

niw3 (1029008) | about 7 months ago | (#46146937)

My wife's account with her real name closed arbitrarily by facebook together with her somewhat popular pages and groups. Reason: fake account. She scanned and sent her id and everything. Only response from facebook says this decision is final and cannot be reversed. So I am saying, fuck your policies Mark.

Re:Identity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147237)

"She scanned and sent her id and everything."

Did it ever occur to you that was the entire point of them canceling her account--verification that the data they did have was real, and not fake?

Yahoo just last week did something similar--they tricked people into verifying which accounts were active by announcing a data breach and requiring people to change their passwords. The moment you did so, they were able to refresh their data on you, as well as add any info about new devices you might be using, as well as forcing a new, updated EULA on the user when they accessed the site to update the password.

I was going to say something about your wife being gullible, but that wouldn't be fair--I prefer to think she was manipulated.

Re:Identity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148281)

"She scanned and sent her id and everything."

Did it ever occur to you that was the entire point of them canceling her account--verification that the data they did have was real, and not fake?

Yahoo just last week did something similar--they tricked people into verifying which accounts were active by announcing a data breach and requiring people to change their passwords. The moment you did so, they were able to refresh their data on you, as well as add any info about new devices you might be using, as well as forcing a new, updated EULA on the user when they accessed the site to update the password.

I was going to say something about your wife being gullible, but that wouldn't be fair--I prefer to think she was manipulated.

You do know that it has been all over media that Yahoo just suffered a massive data breach where hackers got away with account login information. Your theory is that they suffered through this just to verify info on their users?

I have 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147143)

Boss account
Gaming account

My gaming account is in no way connected to my boss and my boss account is pretty much dead. Some a-hole demanded it during a job interview and wanted to surf my account, I eventually said fuck off and left. I offered to log using on my phone and surf it for him but that was still pushing it, but no he wanted private time, fucking sicko I tell you. He's lucky I was on probation at the time because the overwhelming desire to beat his ass with my chair was almost too much to take. I don't give a fuck if he was the pope I'm not letting some random stranger surf my FB privately because for all I know he could have been a closet chomo.

That is why multiple FB accounts is needed.

Depends on what "fake" is (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | about 7 months ago | (#46147177)

Most of the people I know have FB accounts, and probably 50% of them are "fake" by FB's policies. Most of us won't use our real names. In my case, it's because there is exactly 1 person on this planet with my name (yes I've tried to find more; there aren't any). Since I don't trust FB to not do stupid things with my data, I lie about my name. The rest of the data is real.

My friends are in the same boat - they lie about their names, but the rest is real. Does it really matter to FB if John Smith goers by Jimmy Applebottom?

Re:Depends on what "fake" is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147419)

In my case, it's because there is exactly 1 person on this planet with my name (yes I've tried to find more; there aren't any).

My name is unique as well, but I have never created accounts in my name, and I never will. My cell phones have no direct connection to my name (one pre-paid, one paid directly by my employer) and I make sure that my firewalls block all traffic to/from corporations such as Facebook and Google (even from my cellphones).

Of course, the IC can definitely find out who I am, but I don't consider those people to be evil. Even if they can be fooled by politicians with agendas, they are still good people. Corporations on the other hand have people who want to abuse people as much as possible.

Re:Depends on what "fake" is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148391)

Absolutely. I am in the same boat. My name is unique and I don't want to explain to people who might know me but who are not in my closer social circle why I am not going to friend them. My account is very real as I use it to interact with people I know, yet my name and details are fake - and quite obviously so to people with a little bit of education. A lot of my friends use similar arrangements - some of them also do have "fake" decoy accounts under their real name to satisfy nosy employers who are suspicious if you don't have a "real" social media presence. So in many ways real-name accounts can be the true fakes and ultimately the "reality" of an account really depends on how it is used and not whether it has real data attached to it.

127.0.0.1 facebook.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147401)

FVCK that facebook shit.
I'm not a narcissistic douchebag.

my accounts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46147761)

i created an account under my real name, then cancelled and abandoned it, and the certification email is forgotten, but the account still exists years later. i tried to register under a fake name, solely to tell them that i wanted to cancel the account that i had previously tried to get rid of. i have had no luck, so i now have an account with my unique name that i dont want there, with no content, and a completely fake name, obviously so, that i cannot use, and apparently they dont want me using. i dont want anyone thinking i have a private facebook account, which it looks like i do. if i could talk to a human being at facebook, maybe they could help, but they dont do that of course.

I don't like it (1)

xenobyte (446878) | about 7 months ago | (#46147837)

Sure, people should be allowed to be anonymous, but it should never be okay to pose as someone else, fictive or real.

All real-looking accounts should be real, and a special type of accounts should be created for anonymous following of sensitive topics, commenting etc. This way you could have a personal account for family, old classmates etc and an anonymous account (personal of course) for all the sensitive stuff.

I've got some (1)

mythix (2589549) | about 7 months ago | (#46148003)

One normal account, and another one who isn't friends with the normal one to check all the privacy and search settings, because I don't trust Facebook...

ugh, remind me why I have a normal account again?

Perhaps some of them are fake for a reason (3, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 months ago | (#46148099)

There is fake as in pseudonym, fake as in sockpuppet / troll and fake as in bot. Some people have legitimate reasons for wishing to remain anonymous while still being a real person behind that name. e.g. maybe someone is a victim of rape or domestic violence, or a political dissident, or simply values their personal privacy while wishing to use a network to collate their interests. Is it really that hard for Facebook to challenge a user in a manner which would confound a bot but verify there is a human on the other side? Is it really that hard for Facebook to establish a level of "trust" that the human is not some idiot troll or otherwise engaged in antisocial activity based on their posts?

Aside from that, some people enjoy anonymity simply by virtue of having a common name. I bet there are millions of real John Smiths who can hide in plain sight simply by virtue of their name. Yet someone with the unfortunate name Ammonia Bumblebee would be instantly and uniquely identifiable.

Anyway, I notice Facebook are pushing real identities more and some sites are requiring users sign on with a "verified" real account. But their manner of authentication is incredibly weak - provide a mobile telephone number. It is trivial to obtain a sim in many countries. e.g. in the UK every Poundland sells SIMs at the counter. Throw it into an old phone, use it to register on Facebook as "real", wait for the authentication code, and away you go. Pretty stupid really.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46148607)

Just like 90% of it's users.

HAIYO~

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