Breaking news: 500 million figure inflated, facebook admits to only having 500,000 real users - one thousandth of the total number of accounts - as spam accounts come to light.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg remained upbeat, however. "Despite the fact that our once-thought popular social networking site isn't as popular as once thought, this number represents a real milestone that is unprecedented in the history of social networking."
Unnamed sources from the inner staff further confirmed the existence of hyper-aware, hyper-intelligent spambots roaming the site, posting pictures taken from real people on other social networks, sending friend requests, and seemingly personal pieces of flair.
Mark promised that soon, facebook bots would begin to take pictures from places such as National Geographic and assign seemingly culturally significant names to them, creating many millions more facebook profiles. "With our innovative system, we hope that soon anyone in the world can have a facebook account," continued Zuckerberg. "That's even if they don't have access to the internet, or even know what social media is."
"I'm hoping to find some wood today to keep my fire going," reads one status by a "Chandra Bhaswar" showing an elderly Indian woman recognizable from a recent National Geographic article done on poverty in India. She currently has 47 friends, each fellow impoverished Indians from her caste featured in the article.
Zuckerberg acknowledges that the system isn't perfect.
"There's some flaws, sure. We aren't able to completely make these profiles as realistic as we would hope. Some of our bots send unrealistic spam and spend countless hours playing farmville instead of interacting with others. And more than a few times, one of our real users tries to date one, or finds the original real person's profile on MySpace or Twitter. That's when it gets awkward."
Mark also promised a better promotional system in the future. "It's amazing how many times we've tried to reward our real users by giving away free big-ticket items, such as laptops, ipods, or premiere tickets to each of the Twilight films," he said. "And every time our bots promote these things by posting on our real user's walls, they get reported or blocked."
"Seriously, people. Doesn't anyone want a free five-day all expenses paid vacation to the Bahamas anymore?"
Not everybody was pleased to learn about the revelation that most facebook profiles were bots.
"All this time, and my mom on the downstairs computer wasn't on facebook at all," said Greg Olsen, high school student from Lincoln, Nebraska. "She was on eBay instead. I'd be upstairs on my computer, and usually she'd send me farmville requests through facebook, but I never thought anything about it, not that her account was really fake or anything. But mom says she never once used facebook. It's very disconcerting." He paused suddenly. "You know, she'd always pop up on the chat to tell me when to come to dinner.
"It was always right."
Zuckerberg declines to say whether he has partnered with google in efforts to make facebook interactions "seem more real," but promised "you'll find out soon. Very soon."