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Facebook’s Billion Member Bullshit

Facebook is an Online Social Network. Requires a connection to the Internet. That is about it.

Disclaimer: I am not now, have ever been, or will ever be a member

Across the interwebs is the Facebook’s One Billion Members announcement. Let me try to count the ways this is a bullshit number.

One Billion? Really? Are there really that many folks shoveling shit in the Facebook room hoping to find a pony?

First up is Internet Accounting. IA is where you count the user names in an ever ascending number. Subtraction is strictly forbidden. Nobody adjusts for people who leave, quit, and just stop playing.
Remember AOL, My Space, etc.

Let’s do the Math…
By Facebook’s own admission nearly 10% of ‘accounts’ are fake, duplicates, misclassified, and or ‘undesirable’ whatever the fuck that means. I see the only requirement for membership seems to be an internet connection. I was going to say that a pulse was a requirement but I am wrong. No don’t squawk about the Real Names Policy. I’ll get to that in a moment.

So we are down to 900 million, which is a lot but doesn’t quite have that zing that a billion does.

Does the ‘billion’ include the accounts created by Facebook who are not official members but are created by cookie tracking on pages that have Facebook badges/Like buttons?

However, according to a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts and 5 million under 10, violating the site’s terms of service.
Source: Wikipedia Facebook Entry

So we are down to 877 million. Here the math is much less certain as there is no verifiable data but what the hell.

Next let’s chop out the company accounts, brand accounts, business accounts, marketing accounts, PR flack accounts, and the rest of the Social Media Marketeer’s crap. Companies and Brands are not people and have no pulses so they get the ax. Real Names Policy doesn’t cover this bit so well. But then a Business Account is a different animal. Like George Orwell said in Animal Farm,”some animals are more equal than others’.
20% is what I figure based on how many sites have badges and links crying for you to ‘like’ them or join them on their Facebook Page. I think that this is low but I am feeling charitable in this moment.(Trust me this won’t last long.)

702 million plus or minus.

Facebook defines an active user as someone who’s logged in at least once in the previous 30 days. According to Experian in Sept 2011 which is the most recent number I could find says that folks are on Facebook between 18-38 minutes per session. Doing the math here should send every company CEO screaming about lost productivity, brain drain and sapping the potency and creating moral degeneration like email did a few years ago.

702 million. Are there really that many people shoveling shit looking for a pony? Don’t get me started on what Facebook is doing with your information while you are shoveling.

Bonus Link Facebook’s 10-Q Quarterly Report