Fake Profiles Hurt Facebook’s Credibility

By Justin Lafferty 

Over the past year, Facebook has been on a rampage against users who either don’t exist or are using fake names. After all, advertisers want real people with real information behind those likes. The New York Times examined this issue, showing how pseudonyms can be used for good and for evil.

The Times wrote about a hospital in North Carolina that came under scrutiny when a page popped up, representing the hospital, and speaking out against Obamacare. One problem: The hospital didn’t create the page. No one within the hospital’s administration knew who created the page, but it was left to deal with a public-relations nightmare.

Additionally, fake profiles are bought and sold like candy to businesses and causes that want to augment their like numbers. The newspaper wrote about Preserve Marriage Washington, a page trying to gain support to turn down a state referendum that would allow gay marriage. While the page received several likes, many of them came from places far away from Washington, such as Bangkok and Lithuania.

However, pseudonyms aren’t always used for evil purposes. Many people use fake names so they can feel free to post on Facebook without prospective or current employers finding out.

In an effort to present real people to advertisers, Facebook has been battling fake profiles, shutting them down in great numbers. Facebook’s Joe Sullivan summarized the site’s commitment to making sure people are who they say they are:

It’s pretty much one of the top priorities for the company all the time.

Readers: Have you ever been the victim of a fake Facebooker?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.