August 19, 2010 9:39:00 AM
Peter Imes - firstname.lastname@example.org
This week a woman concerned about social media identity theft contacted me. She wasn''t referring to stolen credit cards or social security numbers. Rather, she was concerned about someone pretending to be her and posting fraudulent information on Facebook. This can be a problem for both individuals and companies.
When you register for a Facebook profile, Facebook does very little to verify that you are who you say you are. I could create a Facebook account with your name and basically act like I am you. I could post messages, chat with other Facebook users, post photos and even make online friends while using your name the entire time. I can''t find any actual stats on how often this happens, but it is a common concern.
Here''s what to do if this happens to you: Go to the imposter''s Facebook page. At the bottom of the left column is a link that says "Report/Block this Person." Clicking this button will pop up a window. Check the box next to "Report this person" and select the reason for reporting them. You will also have to check the box at the bottom of the pop up window that states that you are making a legitimate report of Facebook abuse.
Make sure you only do this to profiles who are definitely impersonating you. Facebook has a team of people who manually review these reports. If Facebook finds that you unjustly reported someone, they can limit your access to the service. If they find that someone is impersonating you, they will remove the fraudulent account. Facebook will not disclose any personal information about the person who created the fake account.
One of the most popular questions I get when I talk to business owners about Facebook is concerning the ownership of Facebook Pages. Typically, whoever creates a Facebook Page for your business is automatically the Page administrator. The problem is that many times a business owner will get their child, an employee or a web developer to create the Facebook Page for them. If the business owner has a falling out with the person who created the Page, he or she may find themselves without access to their own company''s Facebook account.
The easiest and best option is for the Page administrator to simply add the business owner as a Facebook Page administrator. This can be done by clicking the "Edit Page" link just below your Facebook Page profile photo and then looking for the list of administrators. Clicking the "Add" button will walk you through the process of adding someone else as a Page administrator.
At the bottom of the left column on every Facebook Page is a "Report Page" link. If more civil methods have failed, report the page and Facebook will investigate.
Peter Imes is the general manager at The Dispatch. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @pimes.