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article imageHow to identify a fake account on Facebook

By Tim Sandle     May 25, 2019 in Internet
To help users of its social media platform to spot fake accounts, Facebook has provided some useful guidance in the form of a new blog post. This may help to stop users being scammed and reduce the spread of disinformation.
As Digital Journal reported, Facebook continues to take steps to ban a series of fake accounts. With its most recent act of housekeeping (for quarter 1 2019), Facebook discovered there were as many fake accounts as there were 'real' users. For the most recent review, Facebook deleted 2.2 billion accounts, which was an increased from 1.2 billion for the preceding quarter. The extent of such fake profiles and pages reveals not only the size of the problem but also the continuing dominance that Facebook has over many areas of news and information.
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Across its vast social network, Facebook is facing an uphill battle automating the detection of misinformation in photos and videos. The rate that accounts are created exceeds the rate that either Facebook's algorithms or its moderators can spot them.
To help guide users to spot fake accounts, Facebook has produced a blog post. The post focuses on several characteristic traits which are often found in fake accounts. This does not mean, however, that just because some of the characteristics are present that an account is fake, it just means proceed with caution.
The first example given relates to names. Some thing to be cautious of is combinations of most popular names and surnames, such as: John, Sam, Rachel, as first names, tied with Miller, Taylor, Brown (as with examples in English) or names that are variations of well-known public people, like Margaret Clinton or Edward Obama.
A second area is with profile pictures, especially where someone looks especially glamorous, as with a photograph that could well be a model. In such cases there is often only one photograph on the profile. Another concern is with photos copied from someone else's account.
A third area is with the date and creation of the account; it is good practice to be wary of recently created accounts. A fourth area is to check the 'friends' of the account holder; if these are people with the same name and who appear to comment on each others pictures, be wary as this is a scam to make the profile look legitimate.
These tips, plus others given by Facebook, are useful and represent an attempt by Facebook to help weed out fake profiles.
More about Facebook, fake news, fake accounts
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