Facebook Says Facebook Full of Bots: Frankly, Fifty Million
The New York Times has an interesting story on Facebook bots, those fake social network/Spam/malware accounts you probably get friend requests from every now and then, like Ms. Claire Hart, bisexual graduate of Western Kentucky UniversityLives and Avatar fan who wanted to be friends with me recently and who I totally can't believe doesn't actually exist. According to Facebook, these Facebook bots are more prevalent than you might think:
Facebook has said that 5 to 6 percent of its nearly one billion users could be fake, and it scours the site regularly to get rid of them.
In other words, around 50 million Facebook users are probably fake. That's more fake people than the entire population of South Korea, or the populations of Greece, Cuba, Portugal, Sweden, and Israel combined. So, lots and lots of bots. This is, by the way, some important added context for SL users who worry that Facebook accounts named after SL avatars are being purged -- while some have definitely been caught in sweeps, it's highly unlikely Facebook is devoting any particular attention to Second Life avatars on Facebook (probably less than 100,000), when the company has to contend with tens of millions of genuinely fake (if you know what I mean) accounts. As I often advise people worried about their avatar-named Facebook accounts:
If your avatar name isn't obviously fictitious sounding, and your Facebook account has real photos, and actual interests, and you regularly use it to engage with other genuine Facebook users, you should probably be OK. (No guarantees, but then, legitimate Facebook accounts of users using their real names who have nothing to do with avatars are sometimes blocked for accidental or dubious reasons too.)
The story hook the Times hangs this story about bots on is particularly juicy:
[A] company, called Limited Run, helps bands and record labels sell music and merchandise online. It bought advertisements for itself on Facebook this spring. It wanted to know who was clicking, so it built its own analytics tool. It discovered that only one in five clicks seemed to be from human beings. The rest, it said, came from bots, which, in essence, are bits of software performing automated tasks.
So 4 and 5 Facebook users engaging with Facebook ads were actually fake Facebook users. And you thought SL bots were a problem.Tweet