Facebook claims that they have 955 million users. There are approximately two billion Internet users at this moment ( 1346067182 ). The 955 million number is ridiculous and whoever believes that these 955 million users correspond to 955 million distinct humans is clueless.
How many of these users correspond to unique humans? A web search reveals hundrends of sites that sell Facebook fans-facebook likes from $9 to $99 per 1000 likes. The facebook fan buildup has become a business for all the seo "professionals" and all the advertising agencies. There is good evidence that even some of the WOW gold farms in the East have been exploring new business models like: virtual social media fan buildup, backlink buildup, and crowd sourcing sites audience buildup.
I and whoever is equipped with a working human brain would also guess that Facebook inflates the number of users in their reports. In a short survey I found that a large number of simple Facebook users have multiple accounts. In order to prove that most facebook users are fake, I do not need and I am not going to reproduce or take into account any spook or big brother stories. Social media marketing alone is a good reason. Everyone needs to sell and he will go to great lengths to do so.
I would guess that 1/20 facebook users corresponds to a real human. My guesstimate is that the number of unique humans with Facebook accounts is 50 million or less.
This is a guesstimate, it is most probably false, like the claim that 955 million distinct humans are using facebook.
Twitter claims that they have ~200 million users. Yet another ridiculously large number. Again hundreds of sites sell twitter followers in the thousands and twitter followers are usually cheaper than facebook likes. Most of the Twitter accounts are obviously fake, not in use, or operated by bots. Twitter has become yet another RSS feed to some and yet another Bot Command Distribution Network ( like IRC ) to others. The spamming and iffy twitter accounts have been reduced lately but still even legitimate twitter accounts are nothing more than broadcasting bots. The IPduh twitter account is an example ... a human rarely logs into it. I would guess that 1/20 twitter accounts corresponds to a real human who does use his account. My guesstimate is that the number of humans with active Twitter accounts is 10 million or less. Again, this is
a guesstimate and it is most probably false but the claim that ~200 million distinct humans do use Twitter is definitely false.
Google Plus :
The people involved in building followers wear lighter color hats and many of the dudes selling followers and likes do not even mention google plus. A bit research on blackhat seo sites reveals a lot of talking about trades of followers and not that much outright selling of pluses. Building bots manipulating google plus accounts is a notch higher than the ridiculously simple. Through my tiny circles in real life I can see that even though many people have accounts not very many using it. I think that the ratio of distinct humans to user accounts is higher in google plus than in the other two major human networking sites in the west. However, many of these humans are users who just created an account and they are not active users.
Crowd sourcing Rating Systems :
There are Crowd Sourcing Rating sites for everything. They rate plumbers, restaurants , bars , websites , strippers , roof installers , hotels, small businesses, large businesses, platform apps, videos, movies , whatever. Most of the crowd sourcing websites in the business of rating others have iffy business models that contradict their mission statements. They sell trust seals , proofs of approval , top page placements, leads , etc.
Even, when iffy business models are not in use the crowd sourcing rating systems are easily manipulated and the ones being rated or their competitors are usually the only ones motivated enough to use them. Obviously, at least 50% of the negative ratings and 50% of the negative comments are fake and approximately 95% of the positive comments and 95% of the positive ratings are fake.
Disqus and Forums:
Recently I spent approximately one hour exploring the disqus comments on a site claiming millions of visitors. To my surprise (not :)) >90% of the disqus users commenting there have commented only on that site and they had only a few comments.
Spelling mistakes and idioms were common to many of the disqus users in the threads.
I do not claim that most disqus users are fake. However, much site interaction on wannabe successful and successful sites is made up.
Alone, the fact that disqus allows free nofollow backlinks for each comment makes me believe that a good percentage of the users are true and not just the website authors talking to themselves. However, every "virtual" community - forum is inflated, the degree of inflation varies a lot.
Yet again, many sites are in the business of selling youtube views. Letting the crowd common consciousness to decide the rank is a great idea. However, this ranking system is easily manipulated in a digital environment. The promoters, the marketers, and the wannabe famous are going to great lengths to manipulate the easily manipulated crowd-sourcing systems.
The Internetz - Percentage of Real Users