Facebook removed nearly as many fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019 as it has monthly active users, and it estimates fake accounts make up a growing percentage of the platform.
The company in its Community Standards Enforcement Report released on Thursday revealed that from January to March of this year, it removed a staggering 2.19 billion fake accounts. To put that record number in perspective, Facebook in the first quarter of this year said it had 2.3 billion monthly active users, The Washington Post reports.
The number of fake accounts deleted in this first quarter was up significantly from Q4 2018, when Facebook says it removed 1.2 billion accounts. Facebook on Thursday explained it has seen a "steep increase in the creation of abusive, fake accounts" in the past six months, especially because of "automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at onetime."
Facebook said that most of these accounts are deleted "within minutes of registration" and not counted as part of its number of monthly active users. But in its report, the company also said that "we estimated that 5 percent of monthly active accounts are fake," which The Associated Press reports is up from from between 3 and 4 percent in the previous report.
Facebook VP of Analytics Alex Schultz on Thursday said the "prevalence number for fake accounts includes both abusive and user-misclassified accounts," with an example of the latter being "when a person sets their pet up with a profile, instead of a Page." Overall, he said the company is "confident that the vast majority of people and activity on Facebook are genuine."