Out of 1.3 billion Facebook accounts, 170 million are fake. Using mored than one account is technically breaking Facebook law: Only one account is allowed per user. According to Facebook’s 2014 annual report, 4.3 to 7.9 percent of accounts are duplicates. Misclassified profiles—created on behalf of businesses, pets, or organizations—account for .8 to 2.1 percent of Facebook usage. And .4 to 1.2 percent of accounts are “undesirable”: they belong to hackers, spammers, and software–generated fake profiles from various companies. The damage caused by these impostors is serious. Hackers can get into your profile, falsify your personal information, then move on to do any number of creepy things, including:
- Mining for cell phone numbers of the affected profile and friends
- Monitoring status updates to track when someone is away from home
- Stalking someone
- Spamming the entire friends list with virus-laden links
- Creating other Facebook profiles modeled after friends to hack into more accounts
- Collecting information for identity theft
What Should You Look For
- Forty-three percent of fake accounts will never update their status, as opposed to 15 percent of real Facebookers.
- Nevertheless, fake profiles tend to have an enormous amount of friends—about six times more than the average user.
- Fake profiles tag many more people in photos than real people—about 136 tags for every four photos instead of just one (which is the average for real users).
- Fake profile photos also tend to be more glamorous—they’re often drawn from stock photography, as opposed to authentic shots with friends or family.
- Sixty percent of fake profiles identify as bisexual, and 97 percent are women—or so they say.
- Sixty-eight percent claim to have graduated from college.
- Location is a factor as well—fake accounts tend to indicate that they’re from countries where Facebook hasn’t yet caught on, such as Indonesia or Turkey.
- If someone’s really trying to hack into your profile, they’ll often mirror your likes and interests in the hopes of starting a conversation.
- Facebook’s Community Standards guidelines, the company will disable any fake profile it finds and wipes all of its information from public view, yet doesn’t completely delete the account.
- What to look out for