Is Facebook lying when it says it has 2.2 billion active users? At least that’s what a fellow student of Mark Zuckerberg claims.
It is the largest social network in the world. We are talking about Facebook, which claims to have more than 2.2 billion active users per month. In plain language, this means that just under one in four people in the world is on the social network. A considerable number, if it’s true at all. That’s exactly what Aaron Greenspan thinks, who developed, as a classmate of Mark Zuckerberg, a predecessor of Facebook, and published a comprehensive study some serious allegations against the group. According to him, 50 percent of all Facebook user accounts worldwide are so-called fake accounts.
Allegation: Facebook is committing fraud
Greenspan goes even further, claiming that the group has lost control of the social network. “Facebook has none and will never have a chance to pinpoint the number of fake accounts,” says the 75-page study. He also accuses Facebook of committing fraudulent misrepresentations to investors and advertisers. “Mark Zuckerberg has shown over time that growth at any cost is his only priority,” writes Greenspan in the document. “The truth is that Mark Zuckerberg could be the biggest impostor in history.”
Facebook: Fake accounts disguised?
As evidence of his allegations, Greenspan is conducting an analysis of user numbers published quarterly to Facebook investors. His result: Since 2017, the company tries to disguise the actual numbers by omitting comparison values and breaking down accounts into so-called “fake accounts” or “false accounts.” In November 2017, it was last reported that 207 million users are represented twice on the social network and around two to three percent of the accounts are not real.
In addition, Aaron Greenspan shows how users in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Egypt, etc. discovered the business of selling fake profiles and used these user accounts elsewhere on a large scale for manipulation and fraud. Lastly, Greenspan cites a number of validating opinions from the tech industry, including former Reddit boss Ellen Pao.
Greenspan Vs. Zuckerberg: First colleagues, now enemies
It’s not the first time that Aaron Greenspan is coming after the company and Mark Zuckerberg: In 2008, he accused the Facebook boss to have copied off parts of the social network from a previously programmed project called “HouseSYSTEM.” He then demanded that the US Patent Office (USPTO) delete the Facebook brand name. But before that happened, both parties agreed out of court – but did not mention any details. For this reason, many doubt the objectivity of the study. Greenspan states: “Readers of my report like to call the study biased. But you should also remember that the study could be correct. “
Facebook describes study as “clearly wrong”
Facebook itself vehemently denies the allegations. A statement to the US website Mashable states that the study was “clearly wrong”.