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.

IS FACEBOOK EVEN LISTENING??

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

  • Ladee900

    Doesn’t matter if you report it they haven’t removed a fake profile from my 12 years old son that says he’s gay, harrasing girls saying he loves them and stole his profile pictue, this is a minor facebook should be held responsible for this.  The have allowed this to contine and has approx 100 friends, when we reported 9 months ago upon creating with less than 10 friends

    • Sid

      You are correct!!It is highly unfortunate that genuine users of the facebook are being treated like this. May be this will prove to be the Achilles heal of Facebook in coming days.

  • Cvandegraaf

    My daughter has had a facebook account for many years.  TODAY someone started a new account with her name, photo and started friend requesting people she knows.  My daughter is BLOCKED from this account, but her friends are not.  The ones that asked who “she/he” were, they were immediately blocked!  There is an email account on this impersonators account, so we reported it to HOTMAIL.  We also logged a complaint with the police.  My daughter did what it says to do on facebook.  That is it.  Any more advise?

    • http://indigic.com Sid

      Dear Guest,
      I can fully understand your plight having gone through all this myself. I will suggest these two ways to fight this Facebook impostor:
      1. Such fake profiles thrive on adding friends from the original account. Kill this incentive first. Shoot a message to all your daughter friends through Facebook itself asking for their support and telling them not to join the impostor’s profile (enclose a link to the impostor’s profile) and highlight that you are taking actions online and offline(legal) to nail him/her . This way her friends will know what to do when they get a friend request from the said impostor. It has worked well in my case to really frustrate the impostor coz no one will give him/her importance he/she craved for.
      In my case some friends still added the impostor and started interacting with him despite my requests so what I did? I removed them from friend list as they are a serious threat to your online reputation and their activity was clearly not a friendly act.
      2. Report to facebook on this page as well
      http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=impostor_profile
      This seems to be a more serious method.

      Don’t worry you can tackle this menace.
      All the best wishes to you.