F'ed by FB?
January 18, 2011 4:15 PM   Subscribe

How do I report a fraudulent Facebook account?

A week ago, Facebook suggested I friend someone on Facebook, an old friend (R), who was in the friend group of an ex-SO. I added R as a friend and my request was approved. I viewed R's profile and it looks pretty typical for a new Facebook user.

I post on R's wall a hello note and send a longer note in a FB message. Several days later I get a response via FB message, essentially saying "Hi Facebook friend, This account is run by friends of R's, not actually R. R thinks he is too busy to have an online account. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on the latest R news via this profile. Signed, the management."

I am livid. I didn't leave any real personal information in the message, but I'm pretty pissed that my profile, which is mostly locked down, was visible to the "management" for a while. I suspect my ex-SO is part of "the management" for a couple reasons, one being writing style of the message and the other being that R and I have enough friends in common that if it was someone else, they would have said just, "Oh hey Anon, this is Joe. I'm running the profile for R." in this false profile for R.

I write back saying "this is gravely disappointing and stupid" and get a snarky "Thanks for your feedback!" in response. I unfriend R's account.

My question is, how can I get this profile taken down? Obviously they are falsely representing themselves as another person, and I'm confident I'm not the only person who friended "R" thinking it was genuinely him.

Reporting options for "report this profile" include saying they are impersonating someone else, but it seems as though they only you allow to choose this option if you can specifically point to the Facebook account of the person they are impersonating, or if they are impersonating a celebrity (R is definitely not a celebrity). I can't report the messages themselves unless they feature "threats of violence/self harm" or "explicit sexual material." None of these options really have a free text field that would let me explain this situation.

Lesson learned about people on Facebook being who they say they are, blah blah blah. I can live without the lesson about trusting the Internet. But I can't let these jerks fool any of my other friends.

Posted Anonymously for fear of retribution. :(
posted by anonymous to Technology (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You're taking this too seriously.

You friended someone. It turns out that the person you thought you friended is not the person behind the Facebook account. You duly defriended that "person."

What more recourse could you possibly want and what do you expect Facebook to do about it? If this is really as big an issue as you seem to think it is, it is an issue for your friend (the real "R") to resolve, not you.
posted by dfriedman at 4:21 PM on January 18, 2011 [22 favorites]

Click on the profile, on the bottom left-hand side click "report/block this person". I'm not sure that Facebook will do anything about it, but that's how to report it.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:23 PM on January 18, 2011

Post a status message so your friends see it and don't make the same mistake. Report the profile-- it looks like they only need a name, not a link.

I doubt anyone is going to find this fake profile, friend it, and then write a message, "Oh, here's that bank account information you were asking me about the other day..."
posted by supercres at 4:24 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd just go ahead and report it through the channels already in place anyway, regardless of the fact that the situation doesn't quite fit. Sure he's not a celebrity, sure there are no threats of violence, but whatever. You know there have to be kids out there who report each other's facebook pages for incredibly stupid reasons. Heck, this guy got his page shut down, and he actually exists. Your request is actually legit.

I'd do the equivalent here of flag-it-and-move-on. And go ahead and tell your friends it's a fake account if you think they'd be put out by it.
posted by phunniemee at 4:24 PM on January 18, 2011

Yay I can't read. I would just click "impersonating someone else," because really that's what's going on. Facebook makes it almost impossible to contact their customer service because they don't give a shit what users think of their site, so I'd probably just let it go past reporting it.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:25 PM on January 18, 2011

is it possible that your friend had their friends set up the account? i mean - this seems like trying to get lady gaga's facebook taken down because her assistant updates it...
posted by nadawi at 4:28 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you're on the warpath because your ex is involved. I seriously doubt that any harm will come of this. Someone might make a faux-pas by revealing something minor to the wrong person, but really, who communicates sensitive, private information over Facebook messages instead of in person, via text, on the phone, over e-mail, or any number of more reliable ways?
posted by supercres at 4:31 PM on January 18, 2011 [6 favorites]

Report the profile. I'd also get in touch with R directly, tell him how you feel about this, and ask him whether this was authorized or not.

Some people won't think this is a big deal, but I would be pretty pissed if someone set up an unauthorized account in my name somewhere.
posted by grouse at 4:31 PM on January 18, 2011

They aren't trying to hurt R with it, right? If not, who cares?
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can report the profile as has been mentioned, but from personal experience, I can tell you FB is highly unlikely to respond. Just alert your friends personally to the fake account so that they, too, won't be fooled. Beyond that, there's not really anything you can do. Or anything you should do, really- it's hard to tell from your post, but it doesn't sound like this account is being run by scammers. Just a friend of your friend's. Which may or may not be your Ex-SO. ...which I suspect is the source of your anger here.
posted by katillathehun at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

What more recourse could you possibly want and what do you expect Facebook to do about it?
Well, it's against the rules for one. But if "the old friend" knows about it it's not really a problem.
posted by delmoi at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2011

Report it and move on. In my experience, Facebook is, if anything, over active in responding. However, if you have a lot of friends in common, understand that your ex-boyfriend may be viewing anything you show or send to your mutual friends, even if their accounts are real.
posted by fermezporte at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2011

Impersonating would be the best fit by what you're telling us... but are you 100% positive R isn't behind those messages?

Maybe ex-SO was there when you added R as a friend and ex-SO helped R compose the message.
Or R didn't want to build any type of relationship with you so this was his way of blowing you off.

I also don't think it's completely fraudulent to run another person's facebook page. I started a page for my computer illiterate mother and I regularly check her wall and messages for her. And I sit there when she wants to look at pictures and actually surf for her because she has trouble differentiating between legit links or ads. And if something pops up she always clicks "yes" so she can "get rid of it."
I also have a friend who maintains pages for 2 of her friends who passed away.

I think it would only be fraudulent in this case if R didn't give permission for his friends to make a page (if they even did).
posted by simplethings at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think it would be reasonable to assume there isn't an option for reporting this because it isn't a reportable offence. I'm sure there're loads of people doing this for grandparents and so on.

fixedgear: the FB questions involve teh dramaz because the people enjoying FB without teh dramaz do not end up with exciting FB adventures to post about here
posted by kmennie at 5:54 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is the person being impersonated a resident of California or Texas?
posted by birdherder at 6:29 PM on January 18, 2011

Seems to me the only reporting of this you should do is to R himself. If he is in fact cool with it, then (like the Lady Gaga's assistants example) it is essentially HIS profile, so Facebook wouldn't (and shouldn't) mess with it. If R isn't cool with it, then he's a big boy and can figure out how to handle it on his own. Presumably, Facebook would be more receptive to "Someone is pretending to be ME!" than they would be to "Someone is pretending to be someone else (who I haven't talked to about this)!"

Of course, to do that, you need R's non-FB contact info. If you're not close enough anymore to have it, then this seems like it's even less of your business.
posted by SuperNova at 9:52 PM on January 18, 2011

Just more anecdata: a friend of mine is currently locked up in California and a bunch of his other friends who I don't know set up and maintain his Facebook page for him (admittedly with his blessing). Maybe R wants things this way? In which case, you should probably just MYOB.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:36 AM on January 19, 2011

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