February 04, 2013

Deviant Identity - Facebook and the One True Account

From Facebook:

The company identifies three types of accounts that donít represent actual users: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and undesirable accounts. Together, they added up to just over 7 percent of its worldwide monthly active users last year.

Facebook disclosed the figures in its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on Friday.

Duplicate accounts, or those maintained by people in addition to their principal account, represent 53 million accounts, or 5 percent of the total, Facebook said.

Misclassified accounts, including those created for non-human entities such as pets or organizations, which instead should have Facebook Pages, accounted for almost 14 million accounts, or 1.3 percent of the total.

And undesirable accounts, such as those created by spammers, rounded out the tally with 9.5 million accounts, or 0.9 percent of users.

Context - systems that maintain user accounts and expect each account to map universally and uniquely to one person and only only person are in for a surprise -- people don't do that. The experience from CAcert is that even with a system that is practically only there for the purpose of mapping a human, for certificates attesting to some aspect of their Identity, there are a host of reasons why some people have multiple accounts. And most of those are good reasons, including ones laid at the door of the system provider.

There is no One True Account, just as there is no One True Name or One True Identity. Nor are there any One True Statistics, but what we have can help.

Posted by iang at February 4, 2013 10:38 AM | TrackBack
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