What To Do About A Fake Facebook Page?

Following My Interview With 2UE Today.

Impersonation on social media particularly on Facebook can be a very cruel way to bully another person. How does this happen and how can you prevent it?

Following My Interview With 2UE Today.

As reported by “The Age” Newspaper today “Just Jeans” Facebook Page was “attacked” by a Fake “Just Jeans” Facebook profile pretending to be an official Just Jeans Facebook Page Moderator, who ridiculed and mislead some Just Jeans Facebook Fans, who were posting to the J.J Facebook Page. This exchange with the Fake moderator went on for some 12 hours before Just Jeans were alerted to it and then responded. Just Jeans were apparently alerted by the “victim’ of the hoax via email. It appears that Just Jeans, were not keeping an eye on their own page’s activity at the time. One of the exchanges was going back and forth on the page at 6pm, so although it can be hard to keep an eye on a Facebook Page over night that particular post was at peak time for Facebook that this particular incident happened. The other post that was responded to by the Fake Page went up at 3am, and wasn’t responded to until 1.23pm later on the same day. Yes 3am is really hard to moderate unless you have an overseas moderator, but with all the overseas outsourcing business’s do these days, that’s not impossible. But not to respond until 10 hours later when you are alerted that your page has a Fake moderator, is not great community management at all.

Facebook is not a 9am-5pm platform, Facebook Page moderators need to be on alert especially during peak times of usage on Facebook, and that peak time can vary from Page to Page depending on the demographic of the users. For a popular page like Just Jeans, over 18 thousand likes, they need to be online and on call during those busy times. 6pm would have been peak time for this particular page.

Let’s compare this incident to a time before social media, it would be like having a large public Just Jeans billboard defaced and ignoring it for 12 hours while photos and film of it are taken by the press and it is then talked about on Radio and reported on TV. The media fallout after the defacement is obviously worse. If action is not taken quickly to rectify it. the ridicule to the brand is then wider spread.

How Did This Happen?

Was The Page Hacked?

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Firstly using the word Hacked as was used by some press about this situation is a bit misleading. The person who was impersonating the Just Jeans Moderator, didn’t “hack” into the Just Jeans Facebook Account, they simply created a Fake Just Jeans profile. They probably copied the Profile pic (you can’t protect those from downloading or screen shots) and set it up, using a slightly different name, it would have taken no time at all to do, and then they posted comments to the real Just Jeans Page as the Fake Account.

Why Doesn’t Facebook Stop Fake Accounts From Being Created?

Facebook disallow Fake Facebook or impersonating accounts but they don’t really have a good set up to spot them before they are created, Facebook rely on their users to report any fake accounts. You can’t set up a Facebook Page with exactly the same business name as another page but you can create it so that the name that appears on the profile appears the same. You can set up a Fake personal profile very easily because you can choose any personal name you wish, e.g there will be hundreds if not thousands of Facebook Profiles with the same name as Joe Smith. Facebooks rules say that you are supposed to only use your real legal name, but there are no checks to see if you are in fact that person. Most fake accounts on Facebook are set up to ridicule and bully people.

How Can You Tell If It’s A Fake Moderator?

As you can see in the thread from the J.J Page, one of the commentors did check, simply by clicking on the profile of the Hoax account it took the user to the Fake Facebook account, away from the real Facebook Page. Fake pages, usually won’t have the same amount of likes, especially if there are a lot of Likes as the Just Jeans Account has over 18 thousand. And usually the Fake accounts are not as established with posts that go back years ect…

What To Do If Your Page Is Attacked By Someone Impersonating You Or Your Moderator.

Disabling Comments:

There’s a bit of misinformation going around about how to deal with negative comments or hoax moderators on your Facebook Page. With some commentators saying that you can disable comments on your Facebook Page or turn them off to help deal with negative or abusive comments. This is incorrect.

You cannot disable commenting on your Facebook profile or your Page. Facebook have no settings where this is possible.

You can certainly disable posts to your page by others, and you might want to do that if you feel it’s more secure for a time, but be aware in the longer term disabling posts to your page will impact the usability of your page. And you can disable some other settings such as tagging of your posts etc..but you cannot remove the ability for anyone to comment on your page. You can only ban certain individuals from accessing your page, and filter who sees your posts, and who can access your Page. For example limit the age of the profiles, or country or origin.

So What Can You Do?

First you should block the impostor by clicking the X next to their comment (go to the top right of the comment, hover your cursor so that the X shows up) click “Hide from page” then report them by following the prompts.

You can also go to their profile on Facebook by clicking the link to their name or the profile picture to report them and block them.

Follow the steps below

Go to their timeline.

    1. Click the top right under the Page Timeline Header picture. and then select Report/Block
    2. Check the box next to Report this timeline
    3. Click This person is pretending to be someone
    4. Select Me from the drop-down menu
    5. Click Continue
    6. Add a description for why you’re reporting the timeline
    7. Check the box next to I confirm that this report is correct
    8. Click Continue to submit your report
  1. If you have had a hoax/profile or page impersonation episode, be sure to alert your fans by putting a post up and pin it to the top of your page timeline. Don’t pretend it never happened. You don’t want your fans to be caught out.
  2. Go to your page settings and be sure you don’t allow others to post their posts or photos to your page for a while until things calm down. If you do, hide them from the main timeline so that they are less visible.
  3. Be sure to alert users that they should click on the icon of the poster/pretend moderator and see if it takes them to another page. If it’s a real moderator it will show the real page. If not sure check how many likes they have and how far the posts go back etc.
  4. Think about taking your Page offline for a while if under attack. You can republish it without loss of content. Go to Manage Permissions under edit page to do so.

How To Prevent Attacks Happening To Your Facebook Page:

  1. Don’t ever leave your Facebook Page unattended
  2. Be sure to have notifications sent to you or your moderators when people comment or post your page, so that you can take action fast.
  3. Have several moderators on shifts, and make sure your Facebook policy is the same for all moderators across the board.
  4. If you are a large brand consider 24 hour moderation. Hire a moderator from another time zone to help out during the times your local moderators are offline.

Your brand on Facebook and other social media should be protected as much as your brand offline. This Just Jeans episode was largely harmless, but with the publicity around this and other recent examples, this type of defacement will happen more and more. The remedy is to get good social media advice and be sure your social media moderators are on the Ball!

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