What Happens If Facebook Thinks You're Not Real?

from the i-am-who-i-am dept

Back in the Friendster era, the deletion of fake accounts (aka Fakesters) is sometimes cited as one of the many causes of Friendster's ultimate fall from grace. Initially, Facebook had not been plagued with such problems, since it originally restricted its users to those with an .edu email address. Now that the restriction has been lifted, fake accounts are starting to stream into Facebook, and with that has come the Facebook fake account police. Just last month, Facebook drew the ire of the blogosphere when they deleted Jon Swift's account for using a pseudonym. And now, on Monday, Facebook disabled British politician Steve Webb's account Monday after receiving complaints that he did not exist. Webb has been a member of Parliament for 10 years, and an active member of Facebook for almost a year, amassing 2,500 friends in that time. Though the mishap was corrected after a few hours, it reminds us of the difficulty of determining true identity in an online world. A cursory search for "Britney Spears" yields at least 20 profiles -- if one of these is the true Britney, it is impossible to tell. Or, perhaps Britney is already on Facebook, but under a pseudonym -- in which case, would she get deleted?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    lizard, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 4:43pm

    and what if you went through all the trouble to change your name to 'lizard', and facebook thought you were fake and refused to let you set up an account, until you provided a 'real' name? hypothetically i mean.

     

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  2.  
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    jag, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 4:57pm

    Pet accounts deleted

    When my girlfriend and I moved in together, as a joke we made Facebook profiles for her cat and my bird, and then listed them as dating. The profiles were cute and cheeky. All of our friends who know and love our pets "friended" them, gave them wall postings for birthday wishes, etc.

    Unaware of their fake account policy, I sent support a joke email from the bird's account saying that because he was a bird, he should be able to "peck" his friends, not "poke" them. The email was light-hearted.

    In response, Facebook deleted the bird's account. It noticed the bird's "girlfriend" the cat, and deleted the cat too without notice.

    It certainly generated ire and distrust for us and our friends that Facebook is not a community about and for its users. If it falls from grace and another more open-minded community replaces it, I won't miss it.

     

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  3.  
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    Spuds, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:17pm

    MyBook / FaceSpace

    Maybe I'm just old and crotchety... but I have always hated the "social networking" sites with a passion. MySpace started bad, and has always been bad. Just the mention of it sends shivers down my spine. I think of MySpace users as the "AOL" users of yesteryear.

    Facebook used to be better. You GENERALLY had people on there with some education... as long as I had my .edu address as an Alumni of my university, I got to stay a Facebook member. When they lifted the restriction, things went downhill very very very quickly. I got a bad taste in my mouth that was very similar to MySpace. I closed my FaceBook account very immediately.

    I wouldn't miss either of them if they closed up shop tomorrow.

     

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  4.  
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    waldo, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:42pm

    facebookspace

    I got booted of myspace because they thought i was fake, however their site is so awful, that I'm glad I'm not on there anymore

    Facebook since the .edu restriction has been lifted is going downhill, now with all of its facebook apps, its whoring out and turning into the next myspace, just awful

     

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  5.  
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    faker, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:25pm

    I have a facebook account on behalf of someone I do a web site for. I am real, and they are real, but I am not really them, even though I am authorized to act on their behalf on facebook. Am I real or not? Even I'm not sure.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:29pm

    Who cares about facebook. It's just hype for nothing new offered. Who needs another "community" when there are already millions out there.

     

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  7.  
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    superfreak, esq., Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:02pm

    my pets are on facebook too

    and their names are real, unlike mine. my friends know my nickname so listing a pseudonym wasn't a problem.
    from the start I did not use my real name, for obvious reasons. who lists their name and school-work-friend and photo details on the net? it's not a good idea to say the least.
    my kids are not allowed to lists their real name either, on facebook or anywhere else.

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 21st, 2007 @ 12:30am

    Britney Spears?

    Dennis, since that's the pop tart's real name, why do you assume that there's nobody else out there with the same birth name (or some Britney out there that's married to a Mr. Spears)? Would you advocate deleting accounts just because they happen to share the name of somebody more famous?

    Oh, and to #6 - the Facebook community happen to be where a lot of people I know are. I've caught up with many old friends, some of whom I lost contact with 10-15 years ago, simply by being on Facebook. I'd definitely miss it...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:29am

    a/s/l?

     

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  10.  
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    Yeah Sure, Jan 27th, 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Facebook

    Anyone stop to think that facebook could actually be one big scam set up by some law enforcement agency?
    Think about it, not such a crazy notion!
    There are enough idiots and zombies out there to give away their real details.

    The information, trends and "conversations" would be of great interest to many governments.

    Even if you provide bogus details, your I.P. address is still logged along with which site you came from and which you go to from facebook.
    From your I.P. address it's easy to do a "whois" and therefore find in which country you're in and which ISP you're using.

    Look up HTTP-REFER and WHOIS on Google to see what I mean.

    Still not convinced?
    Then how about taking note of how many different ads you see on Facebook?
    You really believe that they could maintain the whole infrastructure at Facebook which run several servers with several I.P.s not to mention all the code that needs to be written and updated when a supposed "leak" occurs?

    Infact Facebook is not alone, and many "hacker" sites are actually set up by agencies with 3 letter abreviations.
    Why?
    Simple, know your "enemy" and which better way then to pose as one of them, e-infiltration if you will.

    Paranoia? Maybe!

     

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  11.  
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    Digital Avenger, Jan 27th, 2008 @ 3:34pm

    Re: facebookspace

    Hey Waldo why not take some e-revenge online for those that have wronged you?

    Quite simple and many options...no programming experience required, just some good old fashioned lateral thinking!

     

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  12.  
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    Gus Boxer, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 1:05am

    FACEBOOK Pet Profile accounts deleted

    Facebook is at it again, erasing 'fake' accounts.

    This weekend Facebook deleted thousands of pet profiles, causing the owners to become irate with the social networking gorilla.
    It would appear a sense of fun is not part of growing a multi billion dollar company.
    A little heavy handed considering no harm is done by the pet owners ( no racial slurring, no libel or defamatory issues are likely and the pet accounts are hardly impersonating celebrities ).
    Bad PR for Facebook though.

    Gus the Boxer
    deleted dog from Fitzroy Australia

     

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  13.  
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    blackcat, Sep 14th, 2008 @ 3:07am

    Facebook Won't Delete Fake Profiles Even When They Know It's Fake

    Facebook picks and chooses who they delete with no logic to why they refuse to delete ALL fake accounts. Wrestler Bret Hart on his official site on the questions page says he's not on Facebook. Facebook was given a link to that page yet they have not deleted all the fake Bret Harts. The real Lindsay Lohan is on Facebook. Her account was deleted. After she gave them proof it's really her she's back on but Facebook has refused to delete all the fake Lindsay Lohans though in their terms Facebook lies-YES FACEBOOK LIES TO ITS MEMBERS FAKE PROFILES WILL BE DELETED! Since they know all the Bret Hart's are fake and which Lindsay Lohan's are fakes there's no excuse to allow the fakes to stay. I can see Facebook eventually going the way of Friendster and nearly being extinct if they don't get off their ass and do something about the posers(fakes).

     

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  14.  
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    blackcat, Sep 14th, 2008 @ 3:13am

    Facebook Won't Delete Fake Profiles Even When They Know It's Fake

    Facebook picks and chooses who they delete with no logic to why they refuse to delete ALL fake accounts. Wrestler Bret Hart on his official site on the questions page says he's not on Facebook. Facebook was given a link to that page yet they have not deleted all the fake Bret Harts. The real Lindsay Lohan is on Facebook. Her account was deleted. After she gave them proof it's really her she's back on but Facebook has refused to delete all the fake Lindsay Lohans though in their terms Facebook lies-YES FACEBOOK LIES TO ITS MEMBERS FAKE PROFILES WILL BE DELETED! Since they know all the Bret Hart's are fake and which Lindsay Lohan's are fakes there's no excuse to allow the fakes to stay. I can see Facebook eventually going the way of Friendster and nearly being extinct if they don't get off their ass and do something about the posers(fakes).

     

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  15.  
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    Celeb in Training, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:26pm

    Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Need to Smarten Up!

    And due to real accounts being deleted(read blackcat's post)that's why I and many other celebrities will NEVER come back to Facebook!

     

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  16.  
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    Celeb in Training, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:27pm

    Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Need to Smarten Up!

    And due to real accounts being deleted(read blackcat's post)that's why I and many other celebrities will NEVER come back to Facebook!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Facebook

    You're a fucking moron.

     

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  18.  
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    Daniel C., Aug 14th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re: Pet accounts deleted

    Solution for people with facebook profiles for their pets. Setup a pet profile on the TextaPet app if you have an iPhone so your pet's facebook doesn't get deleted! You can share pics of your pet with friends and family and acquire followers/fans like you would on Facebook or Twitter.

     

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  19.  
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    Daniel C., Aug 14th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Re: my pets are on facebook too

    If you have an iPhone, look at the TextaPet app so you don't run the risk of your pet's facebook getting deleted. You can share pics of your pet with friends and family and acquire followers/fans like you would on Facebook or Twitter.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Daniel C., Aug 14th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: FACEBOOK Pet Profile accounts deleted

    Sorry to hear, Fitzroy :( But good news if you have an iPhone, you might want to check out the TextaPet app. Basically a social network for animals sharing photos with friends and family.
    http://itunes.apple.com/app/textapet/id506588505

     

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  21.  
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    isuper man, Mar 1st, 2013 @ 8:29am

    i changed my name to isuper man for a laugh and next thing i know i get deleted and it does a test to see if i am real
    but it is a very very unfair test coz fb makes u guess if who the person is who has been taged in a photo but people tag pictures all the time that have nothing to do with their friends!!!!!

     

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