Anyone who saw the movie Catfish or has spent longer than 20 minutes online knows that social media is not exactly a paragon of honesty. But it's still a little surprising to learn that there are 83 million fake accounts on Facebook.
These aren't just the porny spam accounts who message you because they saw your profile, dear, and you are most truly the man to make the happiest of ever after days. These are also duplicate accounts — which goes against Facebook policy and is a really sneaky way to cheat at FarmVille — and pet accounts. Listen, your cat lacks opposable thumbs: you're not fooling anyone.
Facebook would like to purge itself of these 83 million fakers, as explained by chief security officer Joe Sullivan in an interview with CNN.
On Facebook we have a really large commitment in general to finding and disabling false accounts. Our entire platform is based on people using their real identities.
Also, how can they exploit your information to sell you things if you're not an actual human with a credit card?
Fake accounts make up 8.7 percent of Facebook's active monthly users. Most of those are the duplicate accounts: you set up an account for grandma, not knowing she already made one on her own. Or maybe you created a more exclusive account to keep out the riffraff (read: your spouse).
Misclassified accounts, which include those for four-legged creatures, number 22.9 million. Facebook asks its users to convert these pet profiles to fan pages, even though the only thing more embarrassing than friend requesting a corgi is publicly becoming its fan.
Finally, there are the "undesirable" accounts, which represent the smallest but most annoying percentage of fakers. They exist for spamming and conning you into a better life with your new Russian bride. Also, they're really obviously fake, so it's kind of on you if you fall for them.
Of course, there's only so much Facebook can do — this is a massive problem, and even Big Brother can't weed out all 83 million phonies. Just remember, if you're currently sitting around checking the notifications for your cat's birthday, you're part of the problem.