What About Fake Social Media Profiles?

What About Fake Social Media Profiles?

Fake profiles – fake accounts

Fake accounts are something that Facebook and any other social network are actively fighting against. An old unspoken hackers’ rule says that if something is done by a human being, then it can be hacked by a human being. There is no need for a hacker’s skills to create a fake profile but there is a need to actively circumvent the rules, restrictions, and protections imposed by the social networks to stop such consumers.

What are fake profiles? These are profiles of non-existing people that have their own virtual life – they make online friends, share links, influence the mood of a certain mass of people, organize online events, create fan pages and groups, and, as a whole, they are very active in achieving their goals this way.

Many such profiles are created before elections. They aim at sharing links to pages smearing political rivals, as well as at publishing negative comments on the competition. This way they create a feeling that suddenly many consumers do not like one political power or another. In other cases, the fake accounts are created with similar purposes – to share links to a concrete website or group of websites in order to boost the traffic or to make other activities that bring benefits to a certain brand or business, one way or another.

How to make a fake profile?

You will be surprised to find out how simple and easy it is to create a fake profile. In fact, it is as easy as to register a new email address. You create a new email address, use it to register on Facebook under a different, made-up name, upload a photo that even your mother will not recognize you on, and that is all. Many people upload photos downloaded from other social networks so as to make the profile look more authentic but this may be considered identity theft and bring unpleasant consequences.

Apart from having such experiences with many colleagues using fake profiles, I also created one for myself. The idea was to check how easy it is to gather a mass of consumers, who accept me as a friend. I put a single profile picture, which I took from a website offering free photographic images for all kind of purposes (including such). The major problem was where to start amassing friends from. The task was not to gather friends identical to those in my real profile and that is why I started with an absolutely different approach – I entered the biggest hip-hop pages and groups and I sent friendship invitations to all men and women there. I chose this concrete music genre because my profile picture would be appealing to many people from this audience, the fan groups had a big number of fans and this way I secured myself future friendships based on the music taste of my fake profile, which contrasted my real one.

To my surprise, in just a few hours more than 50 people had accepted my friendship invitation, although they did not know my new virtual identity. I gathered hundreds of friends in the first days simply by taking advantage of the naiveté of the consumers whom I offered my friendship to, and who accepted it without even thinking where we knew each other from. The bigger surprise came on the fourth day when I entered my fake profile and saw that there were more than 20 friendship requests.

I eagerly accepted all of them but this was not the end – more and more friendship requests continued coming over the next days. The whole befriending initiative went over the edge. My network of friends reached 1,000 people in less than a month, while now – three years later – I have reached the limit. The increase in the number of friends is directly proportional to the number of friends. If you have 5 friends, it will be hard to reach 100; it will be much easier to move from 100 to 500, while it will be a real piece of cake to jump from 1,000 to 5,000. This is due to the friendly Facebook, which does not miss a chance to notify the other users that they may know me because we have 43 mutual friends.

It does not matter whether I will mark someone as a friend or whether I will pop up as a suggestion to them. The consumer is left with the feeling that since most of their friends know me, probably they know me too, but have forgotten my name, or I have changed my haircut, or something else… that is why they are more inclined to accept a friendship from a beautiful lady, for instance, than to ignore it. Once I enter someone’s friend list, they soon forget about me because I melt into the crowd made of hundreds of other people, as well as of at least 4-5 “colleagues” (other fake accounts). They are there simply to share an interesting link someday, which will catch some “victims” that will click or take advantage of the new promotion the store we are working for is offering. Or, why not join the raffle we organize? Out of all those 1,000 people I befriended in just a month, there was only one, who expressed doubts that we know each other and directly asked me about it. All the rest accepted Facebook’s proposals that we may know each other or accepted the request, taking it at face value.

The funniest part was when the birthday of the fake profile came. I received hundreds of greetings on personal messages, e-cards, and happy birthday wishes on my wall, as well as a new wave of friends because the friends of my friends saw that their friends were writing on my wall. It is a complicated network of friends, which additionally strengthens the trust in certain consumer and their power.

You can reach your real friends and acquaintances through your real profile but through the fake one you get to thousands of people you would not have had access to in any other way. This way everything you like and share will be visible to them and you can expect certain actions on their part.

Although it is widespread, this practice is not among those I would recommend you to use actively. It is not infrequent for Facebook to detect your fake profile and to delete it and all your work and efforts will be wasted. Maintaining such a profile is very hard because you should get under your fake profile’s skin and you should be active every day just like a real Facebook user. Recently Facebook integrated a technology under which the more you interact with certain consumers, the more frequently you see their activities on your news feed. This way, if you have a fake profile that does not have an active Facebook life, the statuses, and publications of which are not liked and shared by the others, it will rarely appear on the news feeds of its thousands of friends.

The decision/solution

Many companies and private persons offer different services connected with social networks and positioning your brand or service before the consumers there. Instead of wasting precious time in making fake profiles and creating seemingly pointless groups without the needed know-how, the best way to achieve good results is to hire a company or an expert. The time you can spend on Facebook in different activities may be detrimental to your project because, if you do not know what you are doing on the social network, there is a risk to get too deep into this game and forget the real work you need to do. Hiring a person or a company to do all these things will free you from this task. What is more, everyone dealing with such activities has already established networks of pages, groups, and many fake profiles with thousands of friends. This way you will not have to start from scratch but will hit the ground running, using a well-oiled fan page that brings thousands of consumers on the very first day. Anyway, everything is a matter of budget.

Like/Tweet/+1

These three standard buttons, which we are used to seeing on websites, are one of the fastest ways of generating traffic. Although underestimated by many companies, these buttons are still a very good assessment of the quality of the website’s content, as well as a generator of a huge amount of traffic. Their function is to share the page you are on with tour friends, followers, or “circles”. Nothing special is required from a website’s owner except to copy a piece of code provided by social networks and to place it on their website. The whole process takes about five minutes and if any coder tries to convince you of the opposite – replace the coder! There is no need of special coder’s skills to put the code, neither is there a need for special knowledge in marketing to use this priceless functionality because it works on its own.

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