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article imageFacebook says 8.7 percent of users are fake, bans Selena Gomez

By Brian LaSorsa     Aug 6, 2012 in Technology
Amid revelations that nearly one-tenth of all Facebook users are fake, the company decided to crack down Sunday by banning Selena Gomez.
The social networking website, which filed for an initial public offering in February, disclosed in its recent 10-Q Form for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that an estimated 8.7 percent accounts registered with the website are fake. The report broke down this number into three sections representing percentages of its more than 950 monthly active users: duplicate accounts (4.8 percent), user-misclassified accounts (2.4 percent), and undesirable accounts (1.5 percent).
In its race to delete fake accounts, though, Facebook accidentally suspended innocent users.
Selena Gomez, 18, of N.M. is one of those users. According to TMZ, Gomez signed into her account Wednesday only a few seconds before it was disabled for inauthenticity. Employees responsible for ridding the website of fakers allegedly mistook Gomez for an impersonator of the 20-year old actress and singer.
“We apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers,” wrote Facebook in its SEC filing.
The company has since restored Gomez’s account. But how careful are employees when determining whether to suspend a person’s access to the website?
Last May, Facebook employees deleted a bankruptcy attorney named Mark Zuckerberg, who they wrongly assumed was impersonating the company’s own CEO. Not only does the former Zuckerberg looks nothing like the man for whom he was mistaken, he had already sent the company copies of both his driver’s license and birth certificate before being allowed to open the account.
Facebook employees aren’t the only ones at fault, though. Many of the social network’s users frequently and falsely identify celebrities who later turn out to be normal people.
For this reason, Justin John Bieber is upset. Don’t mistake him for the Justin Bieber you’re familiar with.
“My name is Justin Bieber and it has been for 50 years,” wrote Bieber on his Facebook profile. “I am not some punk ass singer homosexual but because some little ass bandit has the same name as me I have to use my middle name.”
The mid-aged, pipe-smoking carpenter from Ohio will not be caught locking lips with Selena Gomez at the beach. Rather, he enjoys “prostitutes, booze and cigarettes” and asks of little girls everywhere, “Please stop adding me.”
The company’s finances are less of a laughing matter.
Facebook’s leadership is standing on shaky grounds. Three top executives suddenly quit last week, and, as the Norwegian government furthers its investigation into Facebook’s facial recognition tagging system, time will only tell what the future holds for the social media giant.
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