Social Media

The Facebook “Multiple Accounts” Warning

The Facebook “Multiple Accounts” Warning

Have you received a message when you log into Facebook that they have detected multiple accounts and want you to disable one? Many users are seeing this message and aren’t sure if it’s legit or a virus, or what they should do about it.

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The message is real, because creating multiple Facebook accounts (by the same person) violates their terms of service. Section 4 of their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities states:

1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
2. You will not create more than one personal account.

This hasn’t been staunchly enforced by Facebook in the past, but they are taking steps toward cracking down on those users with multiple accounts. This is why some people are seeing the following message when they log into Facebook:

Warning: Our Systems Detected You Have Multiple Accounts
It looks like you have more than one account on Facebook. Facebook is a community where people use their real identities so you always know who you’re connecting with. Maintaining multiple accounts is a violation of our Terms and could result in all of your accounts being disabled. Please remove this account and help us keep Facebook safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Users have been seeing this Facebook message about multiple accounts lately.


Should you see this message, you’ll be given the option to “Remove This Account” or deal with it “Later.” It would seem that most people are opting for the “later” choice. I have heard of some users disabling the “wrong’ account – in other words, they inadvertently disabled their main account and kept their secondary one.

If you see this message and are on your main Facebook account, you should select the “Later” option. Facebook hasn’t clearly spelled out exactly how they define a duplicate account, and it appears that this is merely a preliminary step in a crackdown that will likely escalate in the future.

If you’ve seen this message, please comment below about your experience.

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  • Kristian Savoy

    I think this is utter bullshit, google lets users use multiple accounts.
    guess google is looking better and better.

  • JS

    I think they should at least allow users to have a separate business acct and gaming acct. So long as they are identified as secondary accts, I don’t see what the big deal is.

  • Siobhan

    Facebook could be more useful targeting the Child Pornography pages circulating.

  • Viridis Lament

    I maintain 3 FB accounts, one under my real name, a second also under my real name to manage my business contacts and home business FB page and a third (which has evolved into my primary account) under my artist “pen name”. I’ve yet to experience this issue, though oddly enough all three accounts display differently.

    However my wife has 2 accounts (a real one and a game only account) and she has been getting the message for a few days now.

  • Ryan

    I have two accounts and haven’t gotten any messages other than facebook asking to verify my cell phone number to secure my account (so if I get hacked I can prove who I am with my cell), which I verified for my secondary account, which I later realized was a mistake, I should have done it for my primary if at all because when I tried to do the same thing on my primary it said that number had already been verified by another user, so I couldn’t use it.

    I joined facebook years ago and have all my real life friends on my main account. The second account I set up very similarly with my real info, but for connecting with business contacts, usually people I don’t know in real life. I act like myself on both accounts, have pictures of myself and my wife, I treat both like a primary account, no spamming or trickery. I just don’t want my real life friends to look at my friends list and wonder who all these people are or wonder why I’m in the marketing groups I’m in, and I don’t want to be looking through my real life friends and have all these other people mixed in. I also want to keep the newsfeeds separate.

    I always use Firefox to login to my main account and Chrome to login to my secondary (so I can leave them both open and logged in), then my wife uses Internet Explorer to login to her account. SO far I haven’t had a problem, but like I said, I act like a responsible, normal person in both accounts, as if it’s my main account.

  • Carol

    I have two accounts, because a few years ago my main email account, connected to facebook, was hacked. I couldn’t get back to that email/facebook account for several weeks, so I set up a new account with facebook using a new email address.
    Once I got back into my original email, I went back to my original facebook account too. But the other day I wanted to delete the second account and I can’t get into it. Everytime I try to log in, it just reverts to the main account. I haven’t tried logging in from another computer yet,and that may work, but in the mean time, does anyone have any suggestions?
    I find this very odd because my mother uses my computer a lot to log into her facebook account and we never have any problems with that. I also use her computer sometimes to log into my account with no warnings or problems. We have the same last name and use the same email service, so the addresses are almost the same, save our first initial.

  • Dennis A

    How do they know that there may be more than one person in a household? Are you limited on FB ID, one to a PC?

    • waffles

      It isn’t clear at this point, which only adds to the frustration some have shared about this process.

  • PaulisRetired

    My family shares computers, too. We all use Chrome and just began seeing these messages today. What a pain. Also, I know of at least two ministers who maintain multiple Facebook accounts to keep their childhood and seminary friends separate from their friends who are members of their congregation. The work / play account are perfectly legitimate. FB can’t and shouldn’t police their world to this degree. They should not be expected to, except for obvious stalking and illegal activities.

  • Ruth

    I just created a new account because there is just too much outdated info on my main account and deleting friends, fan pages, likes, etc takes too much time now.

    • Ryan

      In your case then you can simply delete the outdated account. I have two that I use almost every day, but I act like myself in both and use my real name (there are other people on facebook with my name, first and last). My main account is for friends and family, then the second is for business networking. I want to keep them separate because I don’t want to be looking at what my friends are up to and suddenly see someone I don’t know that well posting business (or personal) stuff. Also, I don’t want people to see that I have 500 friends, when I only really know 377 of them, etc.

  • bluediamond

    I maintain no less than 8 facebook accounts besides my own. They are owned and run by the owners of which the accounts are named (members of a music group) but I on the whole maintain all of them for the technical side of things and to update artwork, applications, notifications etc for the band on their behalf. They use their accounts to promote to their fans but they don’t always have time or the tech savvy to run the more intricate side of things. Yes they have a page for their band but they also promote from their individual acounts. They require for me to have access to all of their accounts. When I log in to separate accounts too quickly I get the warning message, and I obviously click “Later”. I have found if I slightly delay log in by 30 seconds or so the warning msg does not appear. When I use Google Chrome, no matter how speedily I log in, I do not get the warning. It seems to be localised to Firefox for now. Very frustrating and if they crack down on this I will definitely need a work-around of some sort.

    • waffles

      Interesting angle with the different browsers. Thanks for the additional info.

    • Aaron

      You are correct sir. I have been logged into four separate accounts at once from the same pc using four separate browsers. Due to conflictions in my social, professional, scholarly, and gaming circles, it is ironically easier to separate them all. Although I can’t use the same name for each one, my life has become drastically more peaceful. I would probably ditch FB as a universal hub should I have to delete my alternate accounts.

  • Allen Spencer

    I am surprised by the crackdown. It is no secret that there are duplicate accounts on facebook–heck there may be more than real accounts. It seems that anyone who plays the games has multiple accounts. Some are to keep the game stuff off the main page and many more are to be more successful at the games.

    In the end, I don’t think Facebook can really afford to crack down this way given how much they have to lose, but are putting a good face on it for their advertisers. They are in a tough spot. Close duplicate accounts and lose 1/3? 1/2? of their users–they can’t handle the truth–or do nothing and have advertiser complain about it.

    • waffles

      Good points Allen. You’d think in the wake of the disastrous IPO that they wouldn’t want to do anything to upset users or lose them, fake or not. Or perhaps they’re trying to show their investors that they’re “cracking down” to clean up the site. Hard to say…

  • Jake

    As I have posted on numerous sites before Facebook wants to enslave us. It wants to control, own and exploit us. The reason people might have 2 accounts is because Facebook’s privacy settings are “public” be default and even if you want to hide certain info it’s not easy to figure out how. Oh and every few weeks we hear stories of Facebook “accidentally” leaking user’s info….phone numbers, credit info, addresses….

    The reason Facebook is cracking down on multiple accounts is because it’s IPO fell flat on its face and they want to blame someone. They want to punish the 100 million or so people who actually use Facebook…not many people use Facebook so that’s why they want to knoww ho the fake accounts are….but you know what…just because an account does not spend money on Facebook does not mean that the account is bogus. If you end money on Facebook you need to enter your credit card info and eventually Facebook will “accidentally” leak it to the whole world…or at the very least the people who pay Facebook millions for customer info. Facebook should be opened for all. If someone wanted to have 200 accounts so be it. Most people have two or three accounts….one for family and friends, one for business and one for games. Facebook wants to put a “number” on all our foreheads.

  • NVO

    The “no multiple accounts” aspect of their TOS has always bothered me for numerous reasons. Of course, the understanding behind it is obvious: they want to help protect privacy by preventing people from posing as others on accounts, to cut back on spam accounts, and numerous other good reasons.

    However, there are a lot of reasons to have two accounts, principally to separate business/family from a personal account. Yes, facebook does have numerous privacy settings, but it can be quite the hassle to change privacy settings every time you want to post something based on the appropriate audience, when simply having accounts separated by type of contact makes perfect sense.

    Other friends I have prefer to maintain one account specifically for gaming, and another account for contacting. It can be difficult to prevent your friends from being inundated with unwanted requests, as well as lack of desire to have strangers added solely for games on a personal account. I feel very strongly that there are other solutions to the problems facebook faces than simply banning all secondary accounts. It’s simple enough for people to report false or spam accounts.

    • waffles

      Excellent comment – thank you. I agree that business/pleasure accounts are a good argument for multiple accounts on Facebook. You’d think that they’d allow that to try to compete with LinkedIN, as they’ve implemented features that were obvious attempts to stave off Twitter, Foursquare, and even Google Plus.

      Facebook would probably argue that the business/gaming/personal profiles could all be handled via their lists (again, that was a Google Plus feature first). I have yet to meet anyone who uses Facebook this way, though.

      I’ve often thought it would be ideal if they’d offer a way to manage multiple accounts – or perhaps different profiles within a single account – the way they allow users to easily switch between a personal profile and admin to business pages.

    • trlkly

      The reason they want you not to have two accounts has nothing to do with impersonation. It’s that they want all the data rolled into one. Two accounts means less data.

      And the solution is simple: allow multiple accounts, but require them to be secretly connected. This is essentially what Google+ does with its Pages and is the only reason the Google+ integration with YouTube is tolerable to the vast majority of YouTubers who don’t use their real names.

  • Jeanne B

    There is only ONE computer in this household, with multiple individuals using it. Each individual has their own email address and facebook account. There are occasions when one will be on facebook, and another will want to use the computer. The first user logs out. The second user logs in. This happens A LOT around here, it’s a madhouse.

    Three out of the six individuals in this household received a variation on this warning. The options given were to choose “Remove This Account” OR “This is My Main Account”. These individuals have been afraid to log in for fear of affecting the others’ accounts.

    Zuckerberg & Co need to realize that just because ONE computer is accessed by multiple accounts at the same IP address, it doesn’t mean that one person has multiple or misrepresentative accounts! It USUALLY means there is only one computer to go around and WE ALL HAVE TO SHARE.

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