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Facebook struggles to count users

Facebook struggles to identify and manage multiple user profiles, which is a prohibited practice, however. After reviewing around 5,000 new Facebook accounts, 32% to 56% of these profiles were created by people already using the social network.

Facebook has no data on exactly how many unique users are registered on its platform. Facebook reportedly struggles to detect and manage them.

A system can detect the duplicates, but underestimates their number, reports the Wall Street Journal. As proof, an internal memo, dating from last May, reveals that the number of Facebook users aged in their twenties in the US exceeds the American population in this age group. All of this makes the figures of active users less reliable. 

 

A problem for advertisers

The difficulty Facebook experiences in detecting single user multiple accounts has effects on advertisers. The latter is based on the information transmitted by Facebook concerning the number of users to carry out their advertising campaigns and to distribute their budget.

Darren D’Altorio from the American digital marketing agency stated that inaccurate potential audience figures could have a serious impact on an advertiser. 

Campaigns targeting 10 million or more users per week would lose around 2.2% of their audience, and up to 5-10% if multiple accounts were deleted, according to an internal document from 2018. For smaller advertisers, who pay campaigns based on the revenue an ad generates, the potential changes in the number of people reached are less significant.

Experiencing these problems, Facebook compromises its image as a real identity platform. 

Internal documents reveal that most of the multiple accounts come from users blocked on their main account or from people who made a mistake while registering on the platform. 

This is not the first time that Facebook has struggled with the statistics. Already in 2016, the Silicon Valley giant overestimated the audience for its videos, leading it to get involved in a lawsuit. 

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