Facebook is presently in the process of disabling millions of "fake" accounts, many of which are pet accounts that people have created for their beloved furry friends.
The news of the tens of millions of "fake" accounts was reported the first week of August. At that time, Facebook had acknowledged in its U.S. Securities and Exchange filing, the company believed about 83 million accounts on the network were not legitimate, and would be eliminated. This amounts to about 8.7 percent of its overall user base.
Pet profiles, along with business profiles, are considered to be "user-misclassified" accounts; this comprises 2.4 percent of the overall illegitimate, or "fake", account category.
What this means is soon, if not already disabled, it'll be bye-bye to Fluffy's and Fido's profiles.
While Facebook has always had a 'real name' policy, the network appears to now be paying close attention to its member numbers and seems to be striving for accuracy of what is considered by the company to be a legitimate member. This is the time Facebook wants to convince advertisers the network is a viable marketing channel, especially as it battles to monetize mobile.
Convinceandconvert.com recently shared some social media statistics. According to this report, there has been a "huge uptick" in Facebook's influence on purchases made. Convince and Convert writes:
Last year, 68% of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36% said that there was no influence. Now, 47% say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior (compared to just 24% in 2011).
If this is any indicator, Facebook has an opportunity here. While their owners likely do, Fluffy and Fido don't have an active credit card to use and make those impulse buys from the ads displayed on Facebook, nor are they carrying a mobile device. As such, these additional pet accounts may be perceived as less valuable to advertisers.
Although, many pet profiles have hundreds, and perhaps more, followers. For instance, in 2010 the New York Daily News reported Bruno the Brussels Griffon had close to 500 friends on Facebook shortly after his new owners created a profile for him to share the news of his new home.
Last year it was reported by Mashable 1 in 10 pets in the U.K. had a social network profile.
Despite the popularity of pet profiles, going forward Facebook won't be the network for pets to flock to for their socializing needs. Escapist Magazine notes Facebook isn't totally kicking pets off the network though, users are free to set up pet pages, but must be in the form of a fan page rather than as an actual user profile.
While Facebook is approaching 1 billion members in its member base, the company's performance has not been doing so hot on the stock market. Friday's close was $19.40, roughly half of its IPO price when the company went public in May.
Update: Facebook does provide a method for people to convert pet profiles to fan pages. Directions can be found on this page.