LONDON: Already under the lens for its role in Russia's meddling into the 2016 US election, Facebook has admitted that up to 270 million accounts on the platform are either fake or duplicate.
The social media giant this week released its third-quarter earning and buried in those results, it disclosed that there are tens of millions more fake and duplicate accounts than it had previously thought, The Telegraph reported on Saturday.
Around two-to-three percent of its 2.1 billion monthly users in the third quarter of 2017 were "user-misclassified and undesirable accounts", Facebook said, adding the number were up from the one percent it had estimated in July.
Another 10 percent of its accounts are duplicates of real users, almost doubling its estimate of six percent from last quarter's results, suggesting that in total, up to 13 percent of its 2.1 billion monthly users (almost 270 million accounts) are "illegitimate".
The company said that improvements to the data used to identify fake accounts were behind the increase, rather than a sudden surge in fake users, the report pointed out.
The disclosure could lead to increased scrutiny of the social network that is already under scrutiny after it revealed that the Russian content on its platforms reached more users than reported earlier.
According to a report in The Washington Post in October, Facebook was planning to tell lawmakers that 126 million of its users might have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives -- many times more than the company had previously disclosed about their reach.
Facebook had previously reported that nearly 10 million users had seen those ads.