How does Facebook police fake user accounts?

I do not have an account on Facebook. It looks like obtaining an account just requires providing a name, birth date, and email address.

How do they verify that you haven’t provided a fake name (or someone else’s real name) and/or birthdate?

They don’t.

Unless it’s glaringly obvious, they won’t check on things unless someone reports you for using someone else’s name or using a fake name. I know someone who used an obvious fake name and FB made him change to his real name, and provide proof that it was his real name.

So if you use John Jones and supply a reasonable DOB, they won’t have reason to question it.

Yeah, they don’t really check. A number of my friends go by pseudonyms on the site. Heck, I’m even friends with a couple of dogs on Facebook – that is, a couple of my friends have created accounts for their pet dog.

So, yeah, Facebook doesn’t particularly police this.

Well that debunks the old adage “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”.

Debunks? Confirms I’d say.

Facebook does a very tiny, token effort to id and remove fake accounts.

To give you an idea of the scale needed to deal with what’s going on, read this story about Twitter deleting 10,000 fake accounts set up to mess with US politics. They learned about these accounts from the DNC. And no doubt that’s just a drop in the ocean.

Fakebook doesn’t even try that hard.

I’ve had a Facebook account for several years with an obviously fake name. No problem. It might disappear if someone reported it. But the way I use it that’s not likely to happen.

Pretending like they are actually policing things makes it all worse. People assume that the friendly woman who wants to just chat with them is a real person since “everyone knows” that Facebook stops that sort of thing. :dubious:

Making it clear with large banners “We don’t know who this person is and we really don’t care.” all over the place would be far more helpful.

In the days before facebook, one of my wife’s friends came home and found her 14-yo daughter on a chat site, claiming she was blonde, 16, and owned a pony. That started the observation among our tech-savvy friends that “on the internet, everyone is blonde, 16, with a pony.”

In 1996 anyone in an internet chatroom claiming to be a girl was actually 15 year old Hank from New Jersey.

If that was the case, he wouldn’t have known it was a dog.

I regularly see users with multiple accounts using different names. They will have an account with their real name then multiple other accounts using pseudonyms. I’ve had people on my block list create phony accounts just so they could be assholes on messenger. It certainly seems like Facebook does nothing.

I know some people who have multiple accounts with different names. But I also know a guy (A KC area musician) who was using his stage name (Knickname Reallastname) for his account and got his account deactivated. When he contacted them to say “what gives?”, they told him he wasn’t allowed to use a phony name, so he had to change it to his real first name to get it reactivated.

Primarily through reports. There might be some algorithm that can detect spambots or something, but reports are the biggest thing.

I don’t see why that counts as “they don’t.” The mods here primarily only moderate when someone reports something, and I wouldn’t say this board isn’t moderated.

I’ve reported several fake accounts, and they tended to be shut down. That said, I don’t report innocuous things like having two accounts they want to keep separate or using a name that isn’t their legal name (I have a few friends who use their first and middle name.) It’s more people impersonating other people or obviously fake names or spammers.

But I’ve had friends who suddenly had to fix their name, so I know it happens.

Edit: I just remembered that Facebook will also sometimes ask me someone is using their real name. I suspect it has random spot checks, and hopes at least one friend will not want to lie.

Multiple accounts are ubiquitous on FB. Part of the reason, i believe, is that there is no real incentive/reason for others to report these accounts. I have certainly never done it*. I mean, why should I? How does it affect my FB experience one way or another?

*With the exception of spammers.

In my Facebook friends group, at least, this is particularly common among women. I don’t know the percentage, but I’d guess around 10-15% of my female friends who go First Name, Middle Name or First Name and some obfuscated last name.

Doing a quick sample of the first 60 Facebook friends names I see, 4 of them have names that are not their own, so about 7%. And the first 30 femaie Facebook friends, I have 4 fake names, 13%, so looks like my guess of 10-15% is about right there.

Interesting to hear that you’ve had Facebook ask you if somebody is using their real name. Never had that happen to me (and I’m a daily user). I wonder if it is indeed random or in response to a report or some algorithm.

One of my nephews is Robert Lastname. He goes by Bob Lastname. When he was a little kid I started calling him BobBob Lastname.

For some reason he used BobBob Lastname on Facebook. Someone he was in a hot debate with turned him in for using a fake name. His account was deactivated, but he fought them. He sent an excellently photoshopped driver’s license proving his name was BobBob, along with an angry rant about how they were insulting “his people”.

He was reinstated.

Although there are automated routines for dealing with some Facebook issues, a lot of it is like with Straight Dope moderation. It’s only looked at when reported.

Several of my female Facebook friends do this, either because they are concerned about stalking, or because they are in a profession in which people might be inclined to harass them (or both).

Someone I went to high school with is now in a successful band that plays internationally. His Facebook account name, the one that he talks with my high school crowd as, is heavily modified from his real name, recognizable to those who knew or know him, but not searchable at all on Facebook. It’s obviously not his real name, but no one who sees the account would be in the mood to report him. But if some asshole fan knew he had another account to talk to his HS buddies, the fan might be pissed…

I also have a friend who changes his name just about as often as Facebook allows him to. He went by “Henry Hudson” and RP’d as the ill-fated adventurer for a few weeks, but couldn’t changed his name back once he was tired of the schtick, and complained about having to wait to change is back. With the wave of clone accounts out there recently, he changed it again to include “Clone-Account” as his middle name. A few other friends changed their names to things like Sam Zapper and Andrew von Lobster, things not obviously wrong, but not usual names at all. They may have changed them back now, but the whole point of this paragraph is that Facebook will let you change your display name, and there’s a cooldown for doing it multiple times in a row. They don’t exactly encourage it, but they will enable you to do it to prevent stalkers and such.

Facebook does little if anything to police fake accounts. Try reading the comment section of any website that uses Facebook for reader comments - Fivethrtyeight or Politico, for example. Every other post is “my twice removed cousin earned 25000 in fifteen minutes online! ↓↓↓↓COPY THIS WEBSITE↓↓↓↓” Report them as spam, and they’re back in 10 minutes with a new account. Yep, Facebook is doing a swell job of policing the fake accounts.