Jun 112011
Fake Facebook Profile

Recently someone close to me complained of being impersonated on Facebook by a Fake Profile. I looked for ways and means to report the said Fake Facebook Profile and to my shock;  I realized that the procedure was too vague with no clear roadmap to solution to a problem which can have a devastating effect on someone’s life.

A quick search took me to a Facebook help page which was a testimonial to how negligent facebook is about the privacy,identity theft and Fake Profile related concerns of its users.
Here is what this help page says:

What should I do if someone is pretending to be me?

If someone has created an account to impersonate or imitate you, please go to the impostor profile and click “Report this Person” in the left column. Check the “Report this Person” box, choose “Fake Account” as the reason, and add “Impersonating me or someone else” as the report type. Be sure to add a valid web address (URL) leading to the real profile so that we can review the information.

Now, to my surprise this information is ages old and actual options and links mentioned in this help information have changed long time ago.

To worsen the situation, Fake id or fake profile reporting method is also available on another help page which is also not updated and only increases the confusion and ambiguity.See the tutorial screenshot available on that page:

fake facebook profile report

Check the actual and current procedure in this infographic:

fake facebook profile report procedure

This goes on to show that for facebook it is not important to update this information on the help page for the benefit of its less tech-savvy users who may be confused after reading the help page and seeing a different reporting procedure. Moreover, this lack of seriousness seeds doubts in mind regarding the total effectiveness of the procedure.Also, there is no guidance on what will actually happen once you report a Fake facebook id. Facebook provides an evasive answer on this issue on the help page:

fake facebook profile report

The following questions are absolutely important and they remain unanswered:

Q1: How facebook will investigate the matter and how they will reach a decision to Delete or to not Delete a Fake facebook profile?

Q2: Once you report someone what information may be sought by Facebook from the victim or from the offender?

Q3: How long will it exactly or tentatively take to delete the Fake Facebook Profile?

Presently you can just report an impersonation on facebook and then frown in the dark waiting for something to happen if at all it happens.

Coming to the social aspect of the whole thing I must say social networking in general and facebook in particular is closely interwoven in our daily social lives and interactions in society.The impact of impersonations online is even more than what it could be offline. With a fake profile and a few clicks some if not all of your friends can be made to believe in something about you which is not true and which may amount to defamation.The situation is even worse if you don’t have a Facebook profile and your friends and relatives have.This entire impersonation and defamation causes tremendous amount of anxiety and stress (just google for fake facebook profile and you will see literally thousands of pain filled messages scattered all over the websphere from victims of impersonation on facebook).Facebook as a responsible net entity and a billion dollor corporate should be sensitive to these concerns regarding Fake facebook profiles of  users or rather customers.

As a last note this is what is found when I searched for “Mark Zuckerburg” on Facebook.

fake facebook profile report
May be he is immune to the negative impact of his own Fake Facebook ids and is not bothered about them but it is a matter of grave concern for most of his customers and this needs to be addressed properly.


What is your opinion on the matter? Please share your views in comments below.