At a conference in France last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the site will reach 1 billion users sometime next year.
When we reported this news, a reader challenged it, writing, “Two thirds of those ‘users’ are individuals with multiple accounts for Mafia Wars, FarmVille, etc. In five years nobody will use Failbook. It is the next Friendster! “
We’ve seen this critique a bunch – and since Facebook’s scale is the biggest reason for our bullishness on the site’s business prospects – we decided to take the claim to Facebook and see if the company could debunk us.
Here’s that debunking attempt from Facebook PR:
Facebook has always been based on a real name culture. This leads to greater accountability and a safer and more trusted environment for our users. It’s a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we encourage people to report anyone they think is doing this, either through the report links we provide on the site or through the contact forms in our Help centre. We have a dedicated User Operations team that reviews these reports and takes action as necessary.
We also have technical systems in place to flag and block potential fakes based on name and anomalous site activity. Users who send lots of messages to non-friends, for example, or whose friend requests are rejected at a high rate, are marked as suspect. We’ve built extensive greylists that prevent users from signing up with names commonly associated with fake accounts. We’ve even received some criticism in the past for making these systems too strict (some people with unusual names have to contact us before they can sign up). There’s always room for improvement, which is why we have a team of security experts and site integrity engineers working on these systems and developing new ones.
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