There have been horror stories about child predators using fake Facebook and other social media profiles as well as other crimes involving mentally unstable people using social media profiles with fake information to lure victims. Yet still people will fall for these ploys.
Truth is, they’re not always easy to detect. If you really look closely at a person’s social media profile, you can usually find clues that something’s not right if you’re really reading closely and not just looking for what you want to see. For instance, if someone includes a line like “I never lie” in their bio information, that could be a warning sign, as honest people typically don’t feel a need to wave any kind of flag.
Even Google itself isn’t immune to false information…in their own Google+ forum! In January of this year, there was an instance of a Google+ member (name: Victoria Nigar) who claimed to be an employee of Google. At that time more than 42,000 people had her in their Google+ circles and was just a hair shy of being listed in the Top 500 Google+ users according to CircleCount.
There are other high rankings she achieved as well, but let’s just avoid belaboring the point by saying she posted her picture, enough people thought she was pretty, she claimed to work for Google, and she worked her Google+ account so she was highly visible and very popular.
This is a good cautionary tale, as 42,000 people added her to their circles and, therefore, she could view their information. 42,000 people fell for her ploy, which shows how trusting people really are. A closer look at her profile, though, gave clues to her false identity if anyone had cared to take said closer look. Some of the interesting inconsistencies were:
- Many of her first posts were in Russian. She claimed that she had lived in Canada and “Sanfrancisco,” but nowhere else.
- Her profile pic was actually that of Susan Coffey. Ok, people do this all the time, but in conjunction with the other inconsistencies it’s a red flag.
- Many of her public posts were simply re-shares of videos from YouTube.
- Her profile didn’t show she was verified as a Google employee. Most Google employees have a check mark on their profile to show they’re verified as an employee of Google. Admittedly, Google has missed a few of these, though.
- She had 3 different profile display names. Ok…again, people play with their names sometimes, but she went from Nigar Memmedova to Google Girl then to Victoria Nigar who works for Google.
Word to the wise…don’t be too quick to add someone you don’t know to your Google+ circles, your Facebook friends or other social media groups. Take the time to look at their profile or send them a message asking them how they know you or why they sent the request.
Of course, if they won’t give you a direct answer, block them:)
To see the whole article on Daily Dot, click here.
In part 2, we’ll look at the problems social media platforms themselves can have in filtering false information…as evidenced by the fake Bank of America profile on (once again) Google+.
Categories: Social Media