Facebook fights fake news, what about fake numbers?

Facebook fake news
Image credit: Marina Sun / Shutterstock.com

We hear how Facebook is now on the case with fake news, terrorist news, racist news and bad news in general. We hear that even Monsieur Zuckerberg admits that the site is now too big for them to be able to police it effectively. We know that regulators around the world are hounding Facebook for more tax, while insisting on more regulation, less influence and that they should be, well, nicer – some sort of social network.

So, that’s not going to happen. Ever since Facebook went public and became an anti-social, commercial network you could see the current situation coming.

We also hear that they are disabling fake accounts as fast as they are being set up. One source says that the company has disabled 2.2 billion in the first quarter of this year. It must be a pretty safe bet that not all of those were set up in the last few months, even though Facebook insists that these deleted accounts do not affect the monthly numbers.

So, let’s play a game. It is like that game you can play where you add up weekends, public holidays, vacation weeks and sick days and prove that you only worked two weeks last year.

Question 1: how many Facebook accounts does your family have?

One particular journalist with the distinguished publication Disruptive.Asia can count four – one for him, one for his wife and one each for their two dogs.

Question 2: how many times has someone said to you ‘ah, yes, I saw that on Facebook’?

And you had no idea that the person even had a Facebook account because they never comment or ‘like’ or basically do anything.

Question 3: how many people do you know who have tried, unsuccessfully, to delete an account when someone has died or is really ill?

Of course, it is easier now but there must be a large number of people who simply gave up and probably walked away from the three or four accounts they have with Facebook.

Question 4: what constitutes an active user?

So, if we went on like this we could probably prove that Facebook has at least a dozen active users (if you include the dogs) but it does beg the question – how many active users does Facebook really have?

And given that the GDPR has probably cut most companies’ mailing list in half because most people have unsubscribed or don’t want daily emails about handbags then the answer could well be quite sobering. (The best unsubscribe email has to be the one where you click ‘unsubscribe’ and you get a message saying ‘this email is already unsubscribed’ – you know who you are and you should be ashamed).

Ultimately, the razor sword of truth will come to Facebook and others and when it does then the reckoning might be quite messy, money-wise.

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