Man Gets 3 Years In Jail For Fake Facebook Profile

from the fraud-or-fun? dept

Earlier this month, we pointed to the case of a Moroccan computer engineer who was arrested, supposedly for "stealing" the Moroccan prince's profile on Facebook. As we noted in the post, the original details weren't clear on whether the guy had somehow gained control over the prince's actual Facebook page (which seemed unlikely) or if he'd just set up a fake profile. Further details revealed, indeed, that the guy had merely set up a fake profile of the prince for fun. Given how common fake profiles of celebrities are on Facebook, it seems rather ridiculous to consider that being akin to identity fraud. Apparently, however, the judicial system in Morocco feels differently. The guy in question has now been sentenced to three years in jail. This seems ridiculously excessive, especially since it doesn't sound like the fake profile was negative in anyway. The guy, Fouad Mourtada, claims to be a fan of the prince who just saw the opportunity to have a bit of fun in setting up a profile for him. It's difficult to see how any court with any sense of reason could consider that to be the equivalent of identity fraud.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    identicon
    Matt Bennett, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:02am

    Not that Morocco is very bad on that sort of scale, but it is an Islamist state. The law does all sorts of funny things in those coutries.

     

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    dorpus, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:05am

    What if

    What if someone put up a Facebook profile claiming to be "Mike Masnick, HIV positive. Hobbies: going to Thailand to play with underage boys"? Would going after the person who put up such a profile seem "ridiculous" to Mike too?

     

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      DanC, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:16am

      Re: What if

      I would think a reasonable person would just try to get the page taken down, and possibly monetary compensation.

      "Would going after the person who put up such a profile seem 'ridiculous' to Mike too?"

      You intentionally post stupid, poorly thought out comments to get attention, don't you?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re: What if

        And you think you are really smart don't you?

         

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          DanC, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:20am

          Re: Re: Re: What if

          I'll stand by my posts, and apologize where I'm wrong. dorpus has a tendency to play devil's advocate poorly with posts like that. Maybe I shouldn't call him on it, since it doesn't seem to do any good with angry dude either.

          In any case, I'm not going to bother name calling with an AC.

           

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      Ima Fish, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:17am

      Re: What if

      "Would going after the person who put up such a profile seem "ridiculous" to Mike too?"

      You should at least attempt to be analogous. Your example was clearly libelous. However, the example cited above clearly was not. Accordingly, it would only make sense that Mike would have a different view of two contrary situations.

       

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        comboman, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re: What if

        You should at least attempt to be analogous. Your example was clearly libelous. However, the example cited above clearly was not.

        I followed all the links and none of the articles state what was actually in the facebook profile other than the statement by the convicted man that it was done "for fun" (lots of room for interpretation there). As much as I hate to defend dorpus, he may actually have a point. Even if his "fun" wasn't libelous (by American standards), making fun of the leader of an conservative Islamic monarchy is probably not a wise move.

         

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      Boost, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:35am

      Re: What if

      Dorpus, don't be an idiot! Really, next time a thought pops into your head. Do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:23am

      Re: What if

      you should do that dorpus

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:54am

      Re: What if

      It's noted that the Fake-Prince page was not negative. I think your Fake-Mike page would nicely fit in as "negative." Therefore the two are not comparable.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:16am

    This guy is lucky they didn't cut off his face.

     

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    known coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    Identity fraud is identity fraud.

    Posing as someone else is fraud simple enough, whether it be attempting a bank withdrawal or making a facebook profile.

    This case is in morocco not here, if it is illegal there the Moroccan gov’t are perfectly within their rights to do whatever the hell they want with the guy.

    Even if it were here, I think posing as another living human being should be should be illegal and 3 years, before probation and time off for good behavior, in the slammer is a fairly reasonable amount of time for it.

    Remember this is not someone making up a profile to be anonymous, or claiming to be anonymous (which would fall under protected speech). It is someone creating a profile of a “celebrity” and claiming it as their own.

     

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      James, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Identity fraud is identity fraud.

      It seems like you are probably one with strict punishments. However, the guy is a fuckin prince, people idolize famous/respectable people all the time. pretending to be them online, especially in a place like facebook, is not anything like hacking into the prince's bank account and making a "bank withdrawal". Just because Morocco and other Islamic countries are "like that" does not mean its right.

      people like u are the reason why the Islamic world wastes half their time delivering harsh punishment to women because they dont conceal their entire body with burkas, why people are beaten for having no beards, while not focusing on real life problems, like improving the economy, and the education systems.

      Remember, Its not 1 month, not 6 months, not even 1 year, but 3 damn years, for having a fake facebook account.

       

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    K-Rack, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Wow...

    This is pretty ridiculous. People set up fake profiles up on Facebook and Myspace all the time. Most don't even get deleted. Most of the myspaces of artists, of entertainers, are usually never set up by them. Even the more known ones.

     

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      GE, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 11:20am

      Re: Wow...

      People do alot of things all the time. That dosen't make it right. People toss off all the time but get caught diong it and what are you ..... thats right.

       

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      Facebook know it all, Aug 25th, 2013 @ 9:12am

      Re: Wow...

      Most MySpace and Facebook celebrity profiles that are real are linked to their twitter accounts where they don't have to deal with constant private messaging. Then there are their paid representatives who are told what they can post, usually adverts about upcoming music and movies or projects. Also, on Facebook they have what is known as community pages, not to be confused with fan pages, community pages are set up by Facebook. Then, every time you mention the person or thing it shows up on that community page whether you aloud it or not and whether they allow it or not. . When a real celeb joins Facebook, that community page becomes their own page, and it no linger says " community page" You have to verify it is truly you to do this. Most celeb profiles are not searchable. They have special privalige. And people who are fakes and pretending to be a celeb with a real timeline. And not just a page can be very dangerous.

       

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    James (profile), Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:02am

    It was the Prince

    The guy set up a page for a Prince in his country. That probably changes things a bit. I doubt it would have been a big deal if it was a commoner. remember the crown prince who killed his father the king with an AK-47 and nothing happened to him because he became King upon the death of his father and that made him above the law?

     

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    JohnOpincar, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:22am

    Good for Morroco

    Too bad we don't have that law here in the U.S. There's too much worthless/fake crap on the internet as it is. What was done was intentionally misleading.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:33am

      Re: Good for Morroco

      No it wasn't. No one was gonna believe that was really the Prince of Morocco. If you saw that facebook page and thought it was real than the internet isn't a good place for you anyway. He wasn't trying to gain anything by doing.. just having some fun.

      If I'm bob and you're dan and I walk around all day with a sign that says 'I'm dan be my friend'... is that really fraud? Even if it was.. a punishable case that does more good than bad?

       

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      SteveD, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:55am

      Re: Good for Morroco

      Well, you'd need more prisons for starters...

       

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    dwight taylor, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:23am

    hmmm

    thats fuccked up

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Yup, islamic countries pretty much suck with their "judicial" systems.

     

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    J Brown, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:11am

    Setup the judge on FB

    Find out who the judges were and set them up with fake Facebook profiles

     

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    The infamous Joe, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    Clearly the world has gone mad.

    FTA:
    According to the website, he told family members who visited him in jail that he had been blindfolded and beaten unconscious at the time of his arrest.


    Seriously? You guys think this is a *good* response to a fake _FACEBOOK_ profile? Three years in jail??! It wasn't even "Hi, I'm the prince and I like touching small to medium sized mammals." it was just in fun! Do you think there aren't Dubya Bush facebooks out there.. do you really think our great president made it? Should *those* people get 3 years too? What if it was Dubya's relative instead?! (As is the case here.)

    Tell me, what if he ordered a pizza to his house and said he was the prince? 3 years? What if he dresses up for the prince on halloween? 3 years?!

    Pull your heads out of your butts. It's freakin' facebook. Relax. This is absurd, no matter where you live.

     

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    Curtis Wright, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:28am

    Jailtime!

    It doesn't matter if we like it or not, or that we think it's bad that this happens to someone. I say that because any person in another country should know the laws of his/her country.
    Ok, point taken. No one individual can know all the laws. My point is that you should know that if you live in Morroco, you need to know that you're not bringing condemnation down upon yourself. Didn't this individual know anything about his own country?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:59am

      Re: Jailtime!

      That a law exists does not necessitate that the law is just or reasonable. Unjust and unreasonable laws do not deserve to be defended. Jailing someone for a fake, non-defamatory Facebook page is both unjust and unreasonable, regardless of where you happen to live.

       

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    torkstone, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    fake cock, real hen

    i walk around with a fake cock... the hens seem to notice and immediately peck away at my fraudulent display of caucus... like women with artificial inflations, my fake cock was merely for peacocking...

     

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    R. H., Feb 25th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Living in a Monarchy

    Well, one must remember that Morocco is a Monarchy. Impersonating or annoying the royals in a true 'King can dissolve the government or deploy the army as he wishes' Monarchy is probably not the best idea. I think this is excessive but you wouldn't catch me doing something like this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    we should all create a profile for this prince. That would really piss him off.

     

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    identicon
    George W. Bin-Laden Bush, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Bring Democracy to the Infidels

    give unconditional love to life, but do not expect reciprocity...

     

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    Prince Moulay Hassan, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 10:49am

    The thief can not take liberties with my name!
    He should not have done this decrepid act, as it is my life and he is under no authority to represent it. What is even worst, he would use this profile to obtain many richies and women, which should naturally go to me.

     

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    John McCaine, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    For freedom and democracy.........

    If you vote for Obama (Hillary is out of the race) Islamic terrorists are going to take over USA and they are going to force similar laws on you.

    Vote for me so that you can continue creating fake profiles!!!

     

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    xtrasico, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Dumb

    This is so dumb I had to take the time to post this comment.

    Just remember: never move to Morocco. Maybe they'll CUT your jellybeans if your piss splashes from the water to the toilet bowl.

    That for sure got to be bad... really bad.

     

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    Kryptos, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 11:58am

    Business

    The post says it all... "judicial system in Morocco".

    In other words, it's not the USA and therefore we shouldn't care. If they want to look like idiots, let them.

     

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    JS Beckerist (profile), Feb 25th, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Grammar Police!

    Anyway != Any way

    ...yeah just saying...

     

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    Special Agent Fox Moulder, Feb 25th, 2008 @ 12:49pm

    The Truth is Out There

    Invasion from outer space is inevitable...

     

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    Hillary Clinton, Feb 26th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    "If you vote for Obama (Hillary is out of the race) Islamic terrorists are going to take over USA and they are going to force similar laws on you.

    Vote for me so that you can continue creating fake profiles!!!"

    Hey John, stop stealing my talking points. I am not out of it yet. Wanna see some pictures of Obama wearing a turbin?

     

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    JohnG, May 25th, 2008 @ 5:45pm

    fake Facebook celebrities

    I agree with you it's ridiculous they arrested the guy. But not for the same reasons you gave. If the idea was to send a message so others don't create a fake celebrity profile it isn't working. There are still many fakes which it seems Facebook isn't doing anything about. That's the ridiculous part. People posing as celebs are not helping real celebrities(yes some, though few, are on there) and not helping fans of the particular celebrity either. However if the arrest would have prevented others from lying they are a celebrity then the arrest would not be ridiculous. Keep in mind using someone else's identity is a criminal offense as it should be. If someone's a fan they can create a Fan Page for/about that celebrity and they don't have to lie to the public they are that person. As far as I'm concerned Facebook has because of this become a big joke and a laughing stock. Or as one group on Facebook says, due to this it's now known as Fakebook.

     

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    JohnG, May 25th, 2008 @ 5:51pm

    fake Facebook celebrities

    I agree with you it's ridiculous they arrested the guy. But not for the same reasons you gave. If the idea was to send a message so others don't create a fake celebrity profile it isn't working. There are still many fakes which it seems Facebook isn't doing anything about. That's the ridiculous part. People posing as celebs are not helping real celebrities(yes some, though few, are on there) and not helping fans of the particular celebrity either. However if the arrest would have prevented others from lying they are a celebrity then the arrest would not be ridiculous. Keep in mind using someone else's identity is a criminal offense as it should be. If someone's a fan they can create a Fan Page for/about that celebrity and they don't have to lie to the public they are that person. As far as I'm concerned Facebook has because of this become a big joke and a laughing stock. Or as one group on Facebook says, due to this it's now known as Fakebook.

     

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    NextTopModel, Apr 15th, 2009 @ 3:53am

    Hey guys I see this happen all the time! Just log into Utherverse.com look up "Christopher80" and he is pretending to be the norwegian actor Thor Knai!
    A shame people have to lie to get others to "fall in love" with them.

     

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    sana sadiq, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 10:25am

    report fake profile

    my name is sana sadiq and i want to report a person who is using ma pictures as well as my name. am sending you my original profile link.
    http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=sana+sadiq&o=2048&init=ffs#/profile.php?id=10028409 30&ref=profile.
    this is ma original link. you can check ma fotoz and plz finish the fake one.. ma original profile email address is sana_las@hotmail.com. am expecting a good response fron your side plz. thanku

     

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    Anna, May 1st, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    Wow

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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