Like many Facebook users I’ve gotten friend requests from people who were already in my friends list. When I check the account trying to “friend” me I see the picture of the person I know and bits of a profile. It looks like the person just started a new account. Weird.
I head over to my friends list and lo! and behold, the person’s account is right there and a click over shows that it is active and operating. WTF?
What’s going on is that someone created a fake account ripping off the Facebook identity of someone and is now trying to capture their friends list. Obviously a lowlife scammer. What’s the endgame? I don’t care to find out so I simply report it as a fake account and block it. End of story? Not really.
I decided to see if someone was trying to clone my own identity on Facebook. Sho’ nuff, there it was—a profile with my name but completely blank. It was not set up by me so I reported it as an account pretending to be me.
Here’s the responses I got from Facebook:
We’ll let you know when we’ve reviewed the profile you reported for pretending to be someone they’re not. If it goes against one of our Community Standards, we’ll remove it or follow up with the profile owner directly.
Then a few minutes later:
Thanks for letting us know about something you think may go against our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. In this case, we reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards.
Note: If you see something on someone’s profile that shouldn’t be on Facebook, be sure to report the specific content (ex: a photo or video), instead of the entire profile. This will help us review your report more accurately.
So it appears Facebook is condoning the cloning of accounts and this does not violate their “community standards.” Kind of reminds one of the massive scam that Wells Fargo pulled some years back of setting up new accounts for customers without their knowledge or consent.
This begs the question: of Facebook’s reported 2.9 billion active users, how many of those are fake or cloned accounts?
The fact that my cloned account had no information on it other than my name begs another question: was it created by a person or an algorithm?
This is not the first time Facebook’s “Team” has written me to say that something odious did not violate community standards. Apparently the infestation of criminals in their Marketplace is totally cool with them.
I know I am probably not alone in getting paid ads for obvious criminal offerings in my main feed. This means simply that Facebook is making money off of criminal activity. One can assume there is some sort of internal community “standard” at Facebook that says, “Who cares where the money comes from. It is still green and good for our stock value.” After all, Facebook made plenty of money from Russians taking out ads to undermine our Democracy.
Here’s a creative solution. Force Meta to revise Facebook’s algorithms to shunt all traffic from bots, criminal advertisers, white supremacists and Nazis to fake profile pages. That would certainly quiet down and remove unwelcome distractions from the lives of billions of actual people and let the nutcases and criminals talk amongst themselves.
By the way, this same situation applies to Meta’s other platforms, Messenger and Instagram.
Marty Kassowitz is co-founder of Factkeepers. As founder of Interest Factory and View360, he brings more than 30 years experience in effective online communications, social media management, and platform development to the site. He is a writer, designer, editor and long time observer of the ill-logic demonstrated by too many members of the species known as Mankind. After a long history of somewhat private commentary on a subject he totally hates: politics, Marty was encouraged to build this site and put up his own analyses as well as curate relevant content from other sources.