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Facebook Daddy Issue
February 2, 2010 8:36 AM   Subscribe

My estranged father has made a fake Facebook profile under my brother's name. We reported it to Facebook in November and it's still there. What is their process for verifying reports, and how long should it take to remove it?

In November, my estranged father (let's call him George Smith) contacted me via e-mail. He mentioned that he was writing from a throwaway e-mail account. On a whim, I searched for the address in Facebook and found a profile with my brother's name (we'll call him Aaron Smith). My brother already has his own Facebook account, and is also not in contact with our father. Both my he and I contacted Facebook in November to report the profile.

Almost three months later, the profile is still there. There is no publicly-viewable information in it, but my suspicion is that he is using it to add my brother's actual friends as his friends, to gather information about him.

How does Facebook follow-up with reports like this? Would they just contact the fradulent account owner and ask, "Hey, are you really Aaron Smith?" And then George Smith would write back and say, "Sure I'm Aaron Smith, here's my birthdate/other identifying info." How can they really confirm it's a false account, besides the testimony of the people who report it?

Should we re-report (I don't want to bog down the system with duplicate reports, though), contact another place, or just be patient?

My own throwaway e-mail: FBDaddyIssue@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
 
I reported a fake acebook account a few months ago and it magically disappeared into the night. No follow-up questions or inquiries. It took about 2 days.
posted by jmd82 at 8:50 AM on February 2, 2010


does your faher have the same name as your brother?
posted by majortom1981 at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2010


Not that you can answer, but have you tried forwarding the email you received to Facebook?
posted by MesoFilter at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2010


You will have a lot more leverage if you would just go ahead and make a public spectacle out of it. You ought to be posting this non-anonymously, with both your brother and your father's names spelled out right here in this thread, and then sending Facebook an email (and a blog post, and a Twitter update, etc.) linking to this thread. Besides hopefully embarrassing them into paying attention, you will also be creating a high-Google-profile document that clears up the identity theft for anyone who gets curious and spends a few minutes digging around.
posted by bingo at 9:08 AM on February 2, 2010


I don't know what their process is exactly for verifying reports, but recently some friends and I reported a Facebook group that was targeting and making fun of someone we went to school with, and the page was removed after about a week. In that case, it was obviously inappropriate and violating their TOS. I'm not sure if they can really verify if someone is who they say they are...I mean, what could they do, ask everyone who signs up to fax in a copy of their driver's license? Since the page doesn't have publicly available info on it and isn't abusive in some obvious way, my guess is that they won't remove it. Your best bet may be for your brother to put out some kind of message to his friends giving them a head's up and warning them not to accept friend requests from this page.
posted by cottonswab at 9:09 AM on February 2, 2010


OP, I would caution you that if you follow bingo's advice (or something along those lines) you may get attention and action from Facebook but at the cost of causing undue embarrassment to your brother.
posted by onshi at 9:17 AM on February 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


onshi, that is indeed a risk. But it's a question of whether it's as big a risk as allowing the brother to be embarrassed by being impersonated. Ultimately, having your identity stolen is not something to be proud of, but it's not the victim's fault, and if everyone knows that the crime took place, then it becomes harder and harder for the perpetrator to do further harm.
posted by bingo at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2010


Perhaps it would be more effective if your brother reported it to Facebook instead of you? I don't know, just speculating.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:51 AM on February 2, 2010


Perhaps it would be more effective if your brother reported it to Facebook instead of you? I don't know, just speculating.

Good point. When I reported the fake profile, that's partly how I successfully got it taken down.
posted by jmd82 at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2010


Perhaps it would be more effective if your brother reported it to Facebook instead of you? I don't know, just speculating.

Both my he and I contacted Facebook in November to report the profile.
posted by misterbrandt at 10:21 AM on February 2, 2010


follow-up from the OP
- My father and brother do not have the same first name (last name is the same).
- The e-mail I received from him has nothing to do with Facebook. I mentioned it because that is how I learned his e-mail address, which is associated with the false profile.
- My brother and I have both reported it to Facebook.
- I do not plan on publicizing my name, my brother's name, or our father's name. Preferably, our father would not even know that we had found the account or that it bothered us enough to try to remove. (Our usual response when he crops up and causes trouble from time to time is "ignore him and he'll go away.")
posted by jessamyn at 10:29 AM on February 2, 2010


My take on this is that it's a form of harassment against your brother, and he should file a formal complaint. If he gets a court order, that will get it shut down instantaneously. It has the added benefit of giving him (and you) extra legal ammo for dealing with him later.
posted by Citrus at 11:18 AM on February 2, 2010


Both my he and I contacted Facebook in November to report the profile.

It's not clear whether you used the Report a Fake Profile page (for non-logged in users it allows you to enter an e-mail, he should probably use the one associated with his real account). It appears that if you do, at the very least you will get a follow-up from a Facebook employee to verify your identity and your complaint.
posted by dhartung at 2:54 PM on February 2, 2010


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