I will offer some do-it-yourself tips in this piece for finding fake Facebook pages. The aim of this piece is to make more people know how pervasive this issue is to make more people report fake accounts, and to make people more suspicious about websites and online accounts. There is also the possibility that more media concern about this issue can lead to the topic being taken more seriously by Facebook.
Most of the tips below are about discovering multiple clues that suggest that an account is false. While there are a few stand alone clues that make it extremely likely that an account is false (a good example is identifying the actual person from which the photo was stolen), it’s more about adding together multiple clues that make falseness very likely, taken together. some of the clues are listed below:
1.Sharing of ad-heavy, low-quality websites
Many fake accounts have the aim of getting you to go to a particular website. There are a lot of commercials on the page, and the owner of the website makes money from advertisers by showing how many people see such advertising on their blog.
So in common Facebook groups, the tactic of many fake accounts is to post links to these websites, where they can get a lot of clicks. A longer-term tactic is often to get you to follow or Like a Facebook community in the hope that later you can click on the links to its websites.
An account that posts low-quality or false news pages is not a sure-fire indication that an account is fake; these sites are visited by several actual individuals. But an account that posts low-quality pages often may be a decent initial indication of falsehood.
To see if an account has been shared publicly in groups:
- on the Facebook search list, under ‘Posted from’ pick ‘select a source’ and enter the name of the suspect account,
several accounts with that name are likely to be open, so try to locate the picture that fits the suspect account. You’ll note that they’ve made multiple posts on low-quality pages to Facebook communities in unique niches with many false accounts.
2.Different titles/Names in the URL
A number of false accounts, not all of them will display a different name in the URL from the one seen on the display. This exists for accounts that used to be owned by a compromised actual entity or for false accounts that were used at one stage for a particular reason (for example, switching from Middle-Eastern-aimed content to American-aimed content).
Note: this is not necessarily a clear-cut indicator. For different purposes, certain persons change their shown identity, such as for privacy considerations. The more serious the disconnection between the URL and the displayed name, the more meaning it makes.
3. Moving content or disconnecting content
Many fraudulent accounts go from being used in one way to being used in another. For instance, a hacked Middle East account goes from posting Israeli dance videos and memes for years and then uploads the image of a white person at some point in 2017 and begins posting U.S.-oriented political content (either on their own wall or in Facebook groups).
This general pattern can be noticed in various ways and in various sections of a Facebook account.Here are a few places where you can find such in a Facebook account:
> Feed: In order to see what you can see, scroll back into the feed. You will see an apparent change in text, perhaps followed by the location where a new profile pic has been posted. You might see a change in the vocabulary used. Use the selector at the top of the page for the shortcut year which lets you jump to a much earlier year. Very recently, several false accounts have been created, so a short, seemingly-recently-created feed is one sign of fake.
> Friend List: Tap on the list of friends and check for an odd number of ethnic names that contrast with what you would expect to have with that account. For starters, with a Friends list of almost all middle-Eastern-sounding names, a Texas conservative.
> Groups, Check-ins, likes, etc. To look at these various pages, click the More option. Make sure you click all the way to the bottom of each one, since they are in chronological order (at least currently). So for example, you could search an account’s likes (the Facebook sites they liked) and see recent U.S.-related likes and then see a lot of Macedonian-related likes at the bottom.
> Likes and reactions to posts : Look at who enjoyed the earliest posts and photographs in an account and see how the race of the names jibes with the account’s actual existence. Note: anybody can comment on public posts, but it’s not a straightforward indication of unexpected styles of names on public posts; it’s just another hint.
4. Lack of content, photos, relationships
You will find that most accounts will have some content available if you spend a little time searching the Facebook accounts of strangers (non-friends). They may have privately closed down some parts or elements, but there will usually be certain items that lend credibility to the fact that they’re actual people. For starters, several accounts would have:
a) some photographs with natural organic-seeming comments and interactions that are publicly available,
b) a number of content shared in their feeds (i.e. not always on the same subject),
c) accessible to certain friends,
d) multiple profile pictures publicly visible over a reasonable period of time.
For most accounts, including very private ones, all these items are pretty normal, and finding an account that has absolutely no personal photos, or zero personal pictures, or no feedback on their posts despite a good number of posts, may be an initial indication that something is odd.
There will also be several false accounts that have been created lately. When you see that there is just one publicly accessible personal pic and that it was the first publicly visible item that was shared just a couple of weeks ago, that’s suspicious. Many false accounts have no identifiable personal images.
5. Trends in specifics of the profile.
Fake account developers are usually lazy. The bulk go for quantity over consistency. This suggests that what they place in bios also has trends. Here are some of the more common trends:
Well-known names of cities or states that are used in fake bios. A profile, for example, may have:
Tennessee University lecturer
He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
From Nashville, Tennessee.
Fake account creators also use popular, well-known names, possibly because account creators are more likely to be familiar with such names.They will look for these names on Facebook (for example, Miami, New York, Texas) to find a place where the fake account lives or works.These indicators are not typically powerful, but they may be a first indication of an unusually generic or improbable account.
6.Use pictures and names of other individuals.
If fake accounts want to be legitimate, they’ve got to get their pictures from somewhere. Photos of actors/performers are mostly used also pictures of either well-known celebrities or less-known, hard-to-recognize performers are used. They also take photos from random locations, such as business employee accounts or outdoor event websites. Some more strategic accounts would post old family images found in thrift shops and estate sales. Clearly, there are many many ways to find photos.
The ways in which some of these things are investigated include:
Download or take a clipped screenshot of your account’s most distinctive personal images, and then use Google Image Search to search for those images. I’ve found real people whose images have been used by fraudulent accounts a few times this way.
Check for the same name on Facebook. Often you’ll see a few bogus accounts of the same name and even the same pictures.
7. Linked to other counterfeit accounts:
Such false accounts are usually part of a fake account network. These accounts interact with each other’s posts and images, and can also make brief remarks or post emojis to further the illusion.
I expect that we will see more and more of these more dynamic world-building techniques as time goes by.
When attempting to locate a network of fake accounts, it is necessary to look at the very first publicly available posts made by the user. For example: you scroll down to the very first public update, made just a few months ago, and it’s a profile pic upload. (You might even use the Images tab as a shortcut.) Look at the Likes on that image and take note of the profiles. Then you look through those pages and go back to some of their original posts to look at who they liked; you could start to see some duplication of names. When paired with a few other false account hints for even a single account, this can be a sure indication that the entire network is fraudulent.
The dates that the original uploads have occurred may also be a hint. For example: you can see that a lot of accounts that have all Enjoyed each other’s images have have their first identifiable content shared about the same date, maybe on the same day.
What are you going to do if you think you’ve spotted a bogus account?
The first thing you need to do is report an account to Facebook, which you can do by clicking report from the main page of every account. There is actually a chance for his account is a fake account.
An additional thing you should do if you wish to do some work of your own, is to send a friend request to the suspected fraudulent or fake account. This would help you to see more of their profile and account, which will make it easy to decide whether the account is fake.