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A controversial new report has accused Facebook of deceiving the public about the number of people using its service, according to Mashable.
According to Aaron Greenspan, the report’s author, more than half of the social media site’s monthly users are almost certainly fake.
“Facebook has been lying to the public about the scale of its problem with fake accounts, which likely exceed 50 percent of its network,” the report alleges.
Greenspan argues that despite claims to the contrary, Facebook “does not now and will not ever have an accurate way to measure its fake account problem.”
Although Facebook previously admitted in 2017 that as many as 270 million accounts could either be fakes or duplicates, the company denied Greenspan’s assertion that the number is closer to 1 billion in a statement to Mashable.
“This is unequivocally wrong and responsible reporting means reporting facts, even if it’s about fake accounts,” a company spokesperson said.
The report is also being called in to question given Greenspan’s background. A former Harvard classmate to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Greenspan reached a confidential settlement with the social media site in 2009 after alleging that he came up with the term “The Face Book.”
Greenspan also sued Columbia Pictures for failing to include him in the 2010 film The Social Network, a movie about Zuckerberg and the company’s rise, but had his case dismissed.
Greenspan also made his feelings about Zuckerberg known in Thursday’s report, stating: “Mark Zuckerberg is by no objective measure a genius.”
Whether or not Greenspan’s claims about fake users are accurate, Facebook shares saw a noticeable dip not long after the report was released.
While Greenspan’s latest allegations may be in dispute, few can deny that Facebook’s public image has taken a beating following a year of repeated scandals.
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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.