Sunday, June 10, 2012

Did Facebook mislead investors regarding its user statistics in its S-1 Registration Statement?

Does Facebook have 900 million + users as its S-1 Registration Statement states as of March 31, 2012? Or, does Facebook have 900 million + monthly open accounts? Whether Facebook has 900 million + users or 526 million users (daily users as of March 31, 2012 as reported in the S-1), these are still massive numbers that have tremendous monetization opportunities.

Investors may want a more accurate answer regarding Facebook's number of users in light of police assertions that alleged Canadian killer Luke Magnotta had 70 different Facebook accounts under different names. Do most people have multiple Facebook accounts? Was Luke Magnotta's 70 Facebook accounts an anomaly among Facebook's users or do a significant number of Facebook's users have multiple accounts?

I don't know how many users vs. how many open accounts Facebook has and it appears that Facebook may not be able to accurately measure this distinction on its platform. Facebook estimates “false or duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 5-6%” of its monthly active users as of the end of 2011. Is this figure correct? Instead of stating in its S-1 that it has 900 million + monthly active users it may have been more accurate for Facebook to state that it has 900 million + monthly open accounts since it appears easy for anyone to have multiple accounts.

I don't want to speculate on whether Facebook made any material misrepresentations in its S-1 Registration Statement regarding its user statistics. Should Facebook along with other digital platforms focus on the number of monthly open accounts (MOA's) instead of the number of monthly active users (MAU's) since Luke Magnotta has demonstrated how easy it is to open multiple Facebook accounts? If an alleged killer has 70+ Facebook accounts how many accounts does the average Facebook user have? Is a more accurate definition of actively engaged unique digital platform users needed?

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