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Social Media Giant Facebook Rejects ‘False’ Claim That Half of its Accounts are Fake

However, Facebook's most recent reporting shows otherwise

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA
Facebook has as termed “unequivocally false” a report that claims the social networking platform hosts one billion fake accounts, a media report said.
According to a Daily Mail report, a former classmate of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the social media giant hosts one billion fake accounts on its platform, or 50 per cent of its total users worldwide.
In a 70-page report titled “Reality Check”, Aaron Greenspan, who attended the Harvard University with Zuckerberg from 2002 to 2004, claimed that Facebook has been inflating its global user count since 2004.
He also alleged that he was the founder of the original Facebook and was paid an undisclosed settlement from Facebook in 2009 over his claims.
“Facebook has been lying to the public about the scale of its problem with fake accounts, which likely exceed 50 per cent of its network,” Greenspan said in the report.
Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay
“Its official metrics — many of which it has stopped reporting quarterly — are self-contradictory and even farcical.”
However, Facebook has denied the findings.
“This is unequivocally wrong and responsible reporting means reporting facts, even if it’s about fake accounts,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying to the Daily Mail.
Greenspan cited a rise in the number of duplicate and user-misclassified and undesirable accounts on Facebook which the company began reporting several years ago in its quarterly earnings results.
In the second quarter of 2017, Facebook reported that duplicate accounts or “an account that a user maintains in addition to his or her principal account”, comprised six per cent of its global monthly active users (MAUs).
Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA
“User-misclassified and undesirable” accounts, which are those made for spamming or for a non-human entity such as a pet, made up one per cent of worldwide MAUs in the quarter.
Graphs from Facebook’s transparency portal show that fake accounts it took action against comprised 32.6 per cent of users in the last quarter of 2017. In the third quarter of 2018, that number rose to 33.2 per cent of monthly active users.
However, Facebook’s most recent reporting shows otherwise.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company estimates that between three to four per cent of accounts on the website are fake, which is a significantly lower percentage than Greenspan’s estimated 50 per cent, the report stated. (IANS)

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Facebook Plans Its Own Globe-Spanning Currency for 2 Billion-Plus Users

Facebook is launching with partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard

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Facebook, Globe, Currency
FILE - An address sign for Facebook Way is shown in Menlo Park, Calif, April 25, 2019.. VOA

Facebook already rules daily communication for more than 2 billion people around the world. Now it wants its own currency, too.

The social network unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday to create a new digital currency similar to Bitcoin for global use, one that could drive more e-commerce on its services and boost ads on its platforms.

But the effort, which Facebook is launching with partners including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard, could also complicate matters for the beleaguered social network. Facebook is currently under federal investigation over its privacy practices, and along with other technology giants also faces a new antitrust probe in Congress.

Creating its own globe-spanning currency — one that could conceivably threaten banks, national currencies and the privacy of users — isn’t likely to dampen regulators’ interest in Facebook.

Facebook, Globe, Currency
Facebook already rules daily communication for more than 2 billion people around the world. Pixabay

The digital currency, called Libra, is scheduled to launch sometime in the next six to 12 months. Facebook is taking the lead on building Libra and its underlying technology; its more than two dozen partners will help fund, build and govern the system. Facebook hopes to raise as much as $1 billion from existing and future partners to support the effort.

Company officials emphasized Libra as a way of sending money across borders without incurring significant fees, such as those charged by Western Union and other international money-transfer services. Libra could also open up online commerce to huge numbers of people around the world who currently don’t have bank accounts or credit cards.

“If you fast forward a number of years, consumers all over the world will have the ability to access the world economy,” Facebook executive David Marcus said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Facebook also could use its own currency to drive more people to make purchases from ads on its social media sites, said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan, who based her comments on press reports about Libra that preceded Facebook’s formal announcement. “This is about fostering more sales within an ad to get more business from advertisers to make ads more interesting on Facebook,” she said.

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Backing by familiar corporations might also make Libra the first Bitcoin-like currency with mass appeal. Such “cryptocurrencies” have generally failed to catch on despite a devout following among curious investors and innovators. Bitcoin itself remains shrouded in secrecy and fraud concerns, not to mention wild value fluctuations, making it unappealing for the average shopper.

Libra will be different, Facebook says, in part because its value will be pegged to a basket of established currencies such as the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen and others. Each purchase of Libra will be backed by a reserve fund of equal value held in real-world currencies to stabilize Libra’s value.

To be sure, recent history reminds us that many big Facebook announcements never really take off. Two years ago, for instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that “augmented reality,” in which phones and other devices project digital images into real-world surroundings, would be a major focus for the company. Such AR applications remain all but invisible today. Same goes for the online shopping chatbots that Zuckerberg unveiled a year earlier, saying they would revolutionize e-commerce in its Messenger app.

Facebook won’t run Libra directly; instead, the company and its partners are forming a nonprofit called the Libra Association, headquartered in Geneva, that will oversee the new currency and its use. The association will be regulated by Swiss financial authorities, Facebook said.

Facebook, Globe, Currency
The social network unveiled an ambitious plan Tuesday to create a new digital currency similar to Bitcoin for global use. Pixabay

“No single company should operate this,” Marcus said. “It should be a public good.”

The company has also created a new subsidiary, Calibra, that is developing a digital wallet to allow people to buy, send and use Libra. Calibra pledges that it won’t share transaction data from details of Libra user’s financials with Facebook unless compelled to do so in criminal cases. Still, if people are using Facebook products to buy things and send money, it’s possible Facebook will be able to track some data about shopping and money transferring habits.

Calibra won’t require users to have a Facebook account to make a free wallet. And it will allow people to send Libra back and forth on two of Facebook’s core messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger. Instagram messages won’t be included, at least at first.

Libra partners will create incentives to get people and merchants to use the coin. That could range from Uber discounts to a Libra bonus paid when users set up a Calibra wallet, although the companies haven’t laid out specifics.

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Many privacy questions remain unanswered, though. Cryptocurrencies such as Libra store all transactions on a widely distributed, encrypted “ledger” known as the blockchain. That could make the Libra blockchain a permanent record of all purchases or cash transfers every individual makes, even if they’re stored under pseudonyms rather than real names.

Facebook said that if people use Calibra or similar wallets, their individual transactions won’t be visible on the Libra blockchain.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg announced a new privacy-focused vision for the company after months of backlash for its treatment of personal customer information. Zuckerberg’s vision — which has mostly not been detailed publicly — will rely heavily on privacy-shielded messaging apps in an attempt to make the services more about private, one-to-one connections.

Many analysts believe Zuckerberg wants to create a U.S. version of the Chinese service WeChat, which combines social networking, messaging and payments in a single app. Libra would take Facebook a step closer to that end. (VOA)