Sometimes, being good with numbers is a curse.
This morning, CNN reported that Facebook removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in three months. The last time I checked, Facebook had 2.3 billion accounts worldwide.
At first glance, that would suggest that Facebook has 2.3 billion minus 2.2 billion accounts — meaning there are only 100 million Facebook accounts still functioning. It would also suggest more than 95 percent of Facebook accounts have been fake all along and fewer than 5 percent have been real.
I can sort of see how that could be. I, personally, have opened more fake accounts than real ones, three to one. But, really, does the average user open 19 fake accounts for every one real account? Am I a slacker when it comes to setting up fake accounts? Should I try harder?
Then I thought, wait, if they were really cracking down that hard on fake accounts, my fakes must have been deleted. I became terribly concerned. I’ve grown really attached to my fake babies. But no, I peeked at the interwebs, and lo, they still exist. They are proud testaments to my profound dissatisfaction at being only one representative of sentient life. (I must, I will, contain multitudes.)
(By the way, are you a fan of personality tests? Try this: Create a fictional character. Set up a Facebook account for your character. Take online personality tests from their Facebook accounts, adopting their character. I’ve done this. I’m an INTP. One of my fictional characters is way the other side, an ESFJ. And an Aquarius. I wasn’t even trying to throw the test.)
So what gives? Well, the above math is wrong. It assumes the fake accounts deleted over the three months were accounts that existed prior to the three months. It assumes they were accounts that were counted in the 2.3 billion figure. It assumes that the 2.3 billion figure was ever static and not dynamic.
In fact, what’s really going on is that Facebook has entered a period in which people are creating millions of fake accounts all the time and Facebook is having to delete these new fakes continually. The 2.2 billion were not primarily pre-existing accounts, they were almost all new to the three-month period.
Getting back to the curse I mentioned at the top: That these deleted accounts were all recent adds is not really that much better news. That means that, for every single real person on Facebook, over the course of three months, various different people or agencies have attempted to introduce a fake person — which is an incredible onslaught.
And don’t think this is just Facebook’s problem. You can be sure all the other social media platforms are being subjected to the same kind of invasions.
The goal is to infiltrate and influence. Any fake accounts that stick and aren’t rooted out will be useful in creating bogus popular movements and take attention away from real popular movements. We’re not only being set up for another messed up national election, we’re being set up for covert manipulation for years to come. And when I say “we,” I don’t just mean the United States.
Speaking of numbers, there are too many cars in downtown Seattle. So many that the city government is looking into the idea of charging a toll for driving here. I think this is a brilliant turn of events. I mean, remember when they were going to pay for the cost overruns of building the tunnel by making everyone pay to use it? Well, instead, they could end up making you pay for not using the tunnel. Feint!
If a toll for driving anywhere downtown is instated, it might be set up like the SR 520 Bridge toll. The toll will either come out of a pre-paid account similar to WSDOT’s Good to Go accounts, or the registered owner of the vehicle will get a bill in the mail.
The Powers That Be are already looking at discounts for all the usual people: the income-deficient, seniors, etc. Me, I’ll just keep walking and riding the bus, so I’ll be as happy as ever.
What I’m most happy about is that slapping a toll on driving downtown may save us just in time from the impending Zombie Car Apocalypse.
That would be when large numbers of driverless and passenger-less cars start driving back and forth all over the city, searching for passengers, in order to eat the contents of their bank accounts.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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