At one time or another most businesses will have to deal with someone defaming their company online… bad reviews, a scathing blog article, a nasty tweet or an angry Facebook comment. What could be worse? I’ll tell you what, someone impersonating you or your company online.
Celebrities have had to deal with it. Just Google “fake twitter accounts” and you’ll find tons. There’s even articles with lists of “the best fake Twitter accounts to follow.” Take for example this list.
One of the more famous accounts sprung up after the BP oil spill in 2010. The account @BPglobalPR amassed over 150,000 followers to date. Update, it looks like the account has been locked down and all tweets have been deleted. It currently has only 34 visible followers.
Many of these accounts are known imposters and not taken seriously; that doesn’t mean their effects aren’t damaging. On the other hand, some accounts are passed off as the actual company. These accounts can cause serious harm to your business, they can show up in search results, be shared on social media and even lead to losing potential and existing customers. Imposter Facebook and Twitter accounts are against both sites’ policies. If you have fallen victim to such actions, here are some practical tips for removing imposter accounts.
Also on TechWyse:
There are two ways a person can impersonate you on Facebook. By creating a personal profile or a Page. The route for removing fake personal profiles is fairly clear. Pages can also be reported, but if you’re logged into Facebook there’s no dropdown menu for “this page is impersonating me.” Luckily, I’ve found the link where you can report a page or a profile to Facebook. Simply visit this page (make sure you’re logged out of Facebook):
A few things you’ll need to know before you visit this page and fill out the form.
You must “attach a picture of a government-issued ID of the person being impersonated (ex: your ID or the ID of the person you’re authorized to represent). Cover up any personal information (ex: address, license number) that we don’t need to confirm your identity.
The ID you provide:
- Must be government-issued (ex: passport, driver’s license)
- Must be in color
- Must clearly show the full name, date of birth, and photo”
Here’s a really simple tool that will allow you to redact certain irrelevant info from your government issued identification:
Simply upload a picture of your ID and draw black rectangles over irrelevant personal info like your address, license number, etc.
Twitter’s impersonation policies are not as cut and dry. For example, Twitter has a “parody policy” that allows parody accounts. You can visit this link for all the details.
The opening paragraph reads: “Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary, or fan accounts (including role-playing). Twitter provides a platform for its users to share and receive a wide range of ideas and content, and we greatly value and respect our users’ expression. Because of these principles, we do not actively monitor users’ content and will not edit or remove user content, except in cases of violations of our Terms of Service.”
If you feel that your case does not qualify as a parody account, but indeed and impersonation, you can file an official impersonation complaint with Twitter.
Whether it’s on Facebook or on Twitter, you’re able to report impersonation if you are indeed the person being impersonated or if you are legally allowed to act on the person’s behalf e.g. a parent of the victim, or even legal council.
Give your impersonation report a bit of time. Facebook and Twitter receives hundreds of reports a day. A little bit of patience will benefit you when it comes time for them to evaluate your case.
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