Ng: Fake Facebook profiles-A A +A
By Wilson Ng
Thursday, July 19, 2012
YOU have to be extra careful in social networks. An employee of Burger King thought it was cool to have his photo taken standing in two large plastic tubs of lettuce and posting it on a forum. Although it was posted in apparently a fictitious name, some people started to trace the photo through some technical data and was able to trace him to his county and to the store itself.
This generated quite a stir when it was made known and Burger King had to come in and launch an investigation. Burger King issued an apology for what happened in what they said was a franchised store and the services of the employee was terminated. Other sources said services of the three employees were terminated – so maybe it’s not only the person who posed who got fired but also the person who took the picture and maybe also the person who posted it (if they were not the same).
There was also another interesting data that surfaced in a masteral thesis. This candidate started to examine what former lovers do in their social networks when they break up. Her thesis was entitled, “It’s complicated: romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook.” This makes interesting study, and the conclusion was that a full 88 percent of lovers continue to follow their exes around in Facebook.
The respondents were aged 18 to 39 and they were people whose relationships ended in the previous 12 months. Apparently, after a breakup, people continue to be very interested in what their exes do. Since most people defriend their exes on Facebook after a breakup, some use a friend’s or relative’s accounts to do their stalking.
They continue to check whether the ex has a new relationship or even what they were doing in their outings and parties.
There were some, about 31 percent, who also said they presumed their exes were also stalking them and therefore posted pictures or statements meant to make their exes jealous.
I find the study interesting because I have Facebook friends who actually did this. One even pretended to have a new flame even if the person was fictional.
In the end, social networks are very public. Once something is posted, it can be deleted but it will never be completely erased. When in doubt, don’t post!
The other interesting report is that the number of Facebook users reportedly have not increased the last six months in many countries. In some they have declined. One of the reasons is that Facebook is starting to clamp down and close fictional accounts.
This is because there are issues on fictional accounts triggering a lot of fake clicks on ads, which artificially inflate some people’s income at the expense of advertisers.
It was estimated that as many as a hundred million profiles in Facebook could be fictional and interestingly, the report says that many of them could actually be in a specific country and the Philippines was mentioned.
I know friends who have two or three accounts in Facebook and I know there are many accounts created by parents in behalf of their babies. I also know a lot of Cebuano friends, who, while clearly in Cebu, claim that they are actually in Canada or in Europe. Please make time to review your profile. If you have inconsistent data, you might be marked as fake and your account closed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 20, 2012.