With Ad Revenue at Stake, Facebook Has a User Numbers Problem

Facebook Has a User Numbers Problem

Facebook is figuring out what to do about users making multiple accounts on the social media giant’s platform, according to internal documents seen by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Thursday (Oct. 21).

A presentation from the spring showed how the social media giant measures its audience, with a focus on the instances of users having multiple accounts, which has been called “very prevalent,” the report stated.

Facebook’s data revealed that there have been around 5,000 new sign-ups at the time of the presentation; between 32% and 56% of them were created by existing users, according to the report. Additionally, the company’s system for detecting these accounts is liable to undercount them.

One of the primary issues is how reliable the information is because it helps inform some large advertisers’ spending decisions. Facebook claims it doesn’t bill advertisers based on estimates of an ad’s target audience, but some advertisers have been looking at the estimates when looking at how to spend their budgets, the report stated.

In a quarterly securities filing, Facebook said around 11% of its monthly active users worldwide were duplicate accounts, with developing markets accounting for a higher percentage of them, according to the report.

Facebook said on its advertiser website that it estimates the audience size for an ad partly depending on the number of accounts a user has, although it doesn’t quantify the impact, the report stated.

WSJ reported that in memos it saw, many instances of multiple accounts come when users are either locked out of their main accounts or make mistakes signing in. Facebook has said that it attempts to redirect those users back to their primary accounts.

However, the data shows that a quarter to a third of these duplicates are “persistent” single user multiple accounts (SUMA), or multiple accounts routinely used by one individual, according to the report.

Earlier this month, Facebook rolled out a pilot program for its Novi digital wallet, which will let users send and receive money abroad instantly and securely without fees.

Read more: Facebook Launches Pilot of Novi Digital Wallet