The largest social network in the world is removing every day, millions of fake accounts. Almost all of them are scanned from the platform before they could even be online.

As soon they suppressed than others are appearing, by tens of millions. Since the beginning of the year, Facebook says it has removed nearly 5.4 billion fake accounts, against 2.1 billion in the same period last year. Nearly 1.7 billion accounts were swept from the network this last quarter, notes the transparency report of the company.

The challenge for the first social network in the world, that its users can express themselves online while sparing them attempts to scam, manipulation or aggression. As explained by Facebook spokesperson, fake accounts fall into two categories: on the one hand those dedicated to an animal, a personality or a political party, which should not have a personal profile but a page. On the other hand the accounts can harm, especially through large-scale spam or fraudulent transactions.


On all accounts regularly deleted by Facebook, the network indicates to intervene even before their online in 99.9% of cases. To do this, the teams of the company have developed a self-learning tool, which comes to identify these same accounts from predefined characteristics.

Suspicious accounts, unable to provide personal information, email or valid phone number are quickly spotted and deleted. Similarly for accounts created in bulk, always using the same IP or MAC address, which identifies a device connected to the Internet.

Despite this filtering, millions of fake accounts slip through the cracks. The network estimates that 5% of all active profiles are fake. To identify and delete them, Facebook relies on the reporting of users and automated observation of the activity of these accounts.

In these cases, it will be a question of identifying particular behaviors, while not going into systematic censorship. Thus, an account able to send requests for friends in a repetitive manner, which could apparently be associated with a bot, can in reality be controlled by a simple teenager a little too sociable and not deserve as such to be deleted.


In early November, the developer Jane Manchun Wong, which often unearths preview the new features of Facebook, reported the existence of a video selfies tool, in the test phase. The principle? Ask the user of a Facebook account to position his face from several angles, to prove that he is a person of flesh and bones, not a bot. This tool should indeed be implemented in the coming months.