How to handle fake profiles on Facebook

Facebook has reached a level where the user base is roughly estimated to cover around 37% of the total world population and along with this huge user base, the fake user base has risen to 27% of the total Facebook users (Nyberg, 2010). In other words, it means that if you get 10 friendship requests a day, then out of that 10 only 7 or 8 are real and the rest are fake (Nyberg, 2010).

There are various reasons that people tend to create fake profiles for themselves or they create fake profiles of others. The most common reason is for fun. It is just to have pranks on friends with the profiles. There are also other stupid reasons of why such fake profiles are created. It can be because of shallow relationships, lovers want to test their partner or a person wants to take revenge on someone.

There are people who create second identities online because they are not happy with themselves in real life. So when they are online, they can be a person whom they have always want to be.

The other reason why people create fake Facebook accounts is for business purposes. Most of the fake accounts are used by some companies themselves to promote their products; this is because people find it more convenient to believe in a product or a service when an individual refers or endorses it (Nyberg, 2010).

Another major reason which can affect the business is creating a fake account of your company. It may be created by someone who is not satisfied with your services or it can be your competitor. And such fake account/s can not only affect your business and reputation but can also frustrate you and loss of trust among your other customers and partners.

So, how to cope up with such fake business accounts.

Report it to Facebook: The very first thing you need to do is report it to Facebook as soon as you are aware of it. You need to go to the impostor’s profile and click “Report/Block this person” at the bottom of the left column. Check the “Report this Person” box, choose “Fake Profile” as the reason, and add “Impersonating me or someone else” as the report type. Be sure to add a valid web address (URL) leading to the real profile so that Facebook can review the information. Alternately or simultaneously you can also submit the form here on Facebook to report about the impostor profile.
Create your business profile: The next important thing to create a Facebook profile and other accounts in other social networking sites as well so that you get your brand name and disallow others from using it. Next, provide the profile link on your corporate website, newsletters and email communications. This way you will be able to inform your customers that this is the official and the real account.
Post messages sensibly: Now as you have an account on Facebook, you need to keep in mind that you have an imposter who is also reading your comments so, be sensible and post the message wisely. Secondly, post such messages so as to when visitors find the 2 accounts on Facebook, they can easily judge your account as the real one. The updates you provide should be able to gain trust of the visitors and the members.
Your profile description: You can also, say in the profile description that this is the real and official profile. When some one is searching for your profile and will surely see all the profiles in Facebook related to your business and brand name. The visitor will check the description and if you provide the main website link and say that this is the official page, and you comments too prove it, then it will surely help you to a certain extent.
Keep track of imposter: You need to spend some time every week to keep track of the imposter comments and messages. If you find any negative comments then make sure you post the response on that page and on your profile page as well.
Legal action: If you feel you have all the details and proofs then you can consult your advocate and the cyber laws prevailing in your city or country and take appropriate legal action.