How to spot a fake Facebook account

Facebook offers some basic guidelines
Posted at 3:59 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 18:12:06-04

Whether you are evaluating incendiary political posts, a target of cyber-stalking or being asked for money, it is important to know how to separate real Facebook accounts from fake ones.

Over a period of nine months in 2019, Facebook removed more than 5.4 billion fake accounts, up from 3.8 billion for all of 2018 (source: Facebook Transparency Reportage).

“We estimate that fake accounts represented approximately 5% of our worldwide monthly active users on Facebook during Q2 and Q3 2019, Facebook says. “There are two types of accounts we identify as fake: abusive and user-misclassified.”

According to Facebook, there are several clues one should look for if they suspect a profile is fake by examining their names, photos, mutual friends and shared content.


Names which are characteristic of fake accounts can use combinations of popular names (i.e. John, Sam, Rachel, Miller, Smith, Brown). This is true for all languages.
They can also include names of famous people.


Types of images that could be red flags include: photos of models for their profile pic, photos of only themselves, photos that are “too perfect” (most normal users will not have a professional profile photo). Sometimes scammers will use photos of people in military uniforms or wearing formal attire, like tuxedos.


Some tell-tale signs of fake accounts include: a recent date of creation when it comes to timeline posts, almost no shared content, shared fake content, zero to few mutual friends.

Tap here for more help identifying fake Facebook accounts.