Have you ever tried to find someone you know on Facebook and searched to find more than one result with the same picture? Perhaps someone you know has told you that they have a ‘facebook stalker’ or someone who is ‘posing as them’ online and talking to their friends.
This is very confusing. I find it is usually done by someone who:
A) You know in real life, but for some reason they have decided to try to attack you online.
B) You DON’T know at all, and they simply don’t have the means to create an awesome profile or simply aren’t photogenic and want to fool people with your personal photos.
SO, This actually happened to me personally. The situation in my case was when I was contacted via message on Facebook from a man who claimed that someone was posing as me by using my name and photo. They then were commenting and sending bullying messages to his daughter from a fake account with my photo and name. I simply reported the URL to Facebook and informed the father that I was a Search Marketing Expert and will take care of this, not to worry. In my case, it was simply some kid who wanted to harass another kid and not use their own name.
Not really a big deal, but when I saw the duplicate profile claiming to be me with my name my photo and the implication that my image and my name was in any way associated with bullying teens, it was pretty overwhelming. I felt ‘robbed’, like my privacy had been invaded in cyberspace. I work so hard to own my search results and my online reputation. Thankfully, for me this ended pretty much within about 5 days after Facebook removed the faker per my requests.
Dealing with Facebook Account Hijackers
There have been some worse cases where people ‘hijack’ other people’s Facebook profiles simply by duplicating them and adding all of their ‘Facebook friends’ to a point where it is simply too confusing to know which is which. When the culprit that is trying to mess with the real person, they often send out ‘dis-information’ style messages that claim that someone is copying their account, thus adding to the confusion.
Recently I had to solve this problem for a friend in NYC. I came up with a very simple but effective solution.
My Canadian friend Sally Golan, now in NYC started getting messages from friends regarding messages and friend adds they were getting from someone they thought was her.
People would respond to her profile from things said by the faker, simply by mistake at first, then it was just too confusing for newbies (or non-techies) to figure out which was the right profile to use for her.
Now when work in the entertainment business as Sally does and need to reach out to contacts for real work, it is very detrimental to your business to have to explain yourself and tell people to delete the fake profile, and re add you, especially when the ‘faker’ is doing the same thing, thus making matters even worse.
1) This unfriendly person had added all of the real person’s friends over a few weeks already.
2) This person also copied all of her recent and past photos to make the profile look very similar.
3) Your Average Facebook user has no idea how to tell them apart.
4) The only difference in the two profiles appeared to be some numerical URL.
I came up with this idea after thinking about how to beat them at their own game. The main problem with her efforts to stop this was that Sally was changing her profile picture, emailing people to only use the account with the new picture, just to see that hours or minutes later, the faker would copy the picture to his fake profile, negating this attempt.
What was really annoying was when this person would send out messages stating: “Someone has hacked my account, they are not the real profile I am!” when in fact they were the faker.
I knew we could use the image to solve this problem and came up with this method: Feel free to use it!
SO, If someone is copying you, aside from reporting them to have it completely removed from Facebook (which may take some time, as facebook has so many users) here is what I suggest you do.
A) Get a Facebook custom username by visiting http://facebook.com/username
We were able to get this nice clean URL for her: http://facebook.com/sallygolan
B) Create an image that has a watermark WITH that username on it and a note telling the world that THIS and ONLY THIS URL is the real account. That there are fakers using their picture and only to trust this URL and delete all others.
WHY THIS WORKS?
The culprit may go ahead and copy this image, but it defeats their purpose by directing users to the true profile.
Its that simple. I wracked my brain about it for a little while, but then figured that out and it was very effective. A short (but not short enough) while after, the fake profiles were finally removed by Facebook’s ‘anti-spam’ team.
So simply reporting to Facebook doesn’t always work and in this case, this bad person had been contacting my colleagues contacts posing as her, messing with her business.
So BE careful and pay attention to who you are talking to online as it may not always be who it appears to be!
Happy foolin’, please don’t bug Sally! however you may wish to check out the Tribeca Film Festival she is working on promoting in late April, early May 2010.
Click here to make sure you ♫ ‘Wont Get Fooled Again’ and crank it up till you need to pay someone for speaker repair.
Till next time, (you can see me speak at Pubcon Dallas on April 13-15th btw)
For 20% off on your Pubcon Registration, send me an @reply on twitter and I’ll give you a coupon code for reading my post! thanks! – if you don’t have twitter(?!!!) just leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you a coupon code via email – Aaron Kronis