One of the big-league SoNet sites, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), is undergoing through the worst crisis in its 14 years history. The company, which has 2.2 billion monthly active users and about 27,742 employees as of Q1 2018, has so far suffered from a major dip in valuation and public outcry. If this wasn’t enough, recent reports by New York Times surfaced the blunt truth of social network scam. As per claims made, bogus impostors have been on the run and are trying to scam users out of cash.
An examination by The New York Times found 205 accounts impersonating Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook and its photo-sharing site Instagram. In the backlash of the recent event wherein Facebook admits that up to 3% of his profiles are fake, social media handles came pouring in with substantial evidence to prove it. One tweet by Jack Nicas shared a snap of this scandal.
Let's discuss Facebook's issue with fake accounts…
After Facebook recently said that up to 3% of its accounts are fake, I wondered how to show that. So, I looked for Mark Zuckerberg impostors… and I found a bunch. Sheryl Sandbergs, too. pic.twitter.com/UHeIYO2y5X
— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) April 25, 2018
To add up more to the woes of Facebook users, it also reflects that about 50 sham accounts were advertising a Facebook lottery. It’s usually a scammer masquerading as a Facebook executive or employee and luring victims to believe that they have won enormous sums of money due to a lottery. But earmark the loophole here – Users need to wire hundreds of dollars to claim the lottery. While some well-thought-out people turn down this scam and complain the same, others fall prey to it.
Report by New York Times depicts a similar sham wherein Mr. Gary Bernhardt fell prey to the Facebook Lottery charade. A retired forklift driver and Army Veteran, living in Minnesota, had wired around $1510, or about a third of his Social Security cheques over three months (November-January).
And the victim isn’t just restricted to Mr. Gary Bernhardt. Individuals like Donna Keithley, 50, a stay-at-home mother with 4 youngsters in Martinsburg, wired around $5306. Kathryn Schwartz, 55, from New Jersey., mentioned she has been in credit-card debt since she misplaced $1,742 making an attempt to assert bogus Facebook lottery winnings in 2016.
The NY Times which informed about its findings to Facebook, soon-after took the step of removing 96 of its impostors. Pete Voss, a Facebook spokesman reached out to acknowledge the request for change although he could not say why Facebook had not spotted the accounts posing as its top executives, including several that appeared to have existed for more than eight years.
As per reports claimed by NY Times, In congressional testimony this month, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook was improving its software to automatically detect and remove such accounts. Facebook officials have said the company blocks millions of fake accounts trying to register each day and analysts said the social network has improved its efforts to remove the accounts.
Robin Alexander van der Kieft, who manages several Facebook groups that track the scams believe that scammers seek victims who, based on their Facebook and Instagram profiles, seem vulnerable. The various fake accounts share information about successful shakedowns and continue pouncing on those victims, he said. He has traced many of the internet protocol addresses of these fake accounts to Nigeria and Ghana.
The Times claimed that they reached out to more than 50 impostor accounts. Most messages went unreturned. None that replied broke character.
Surely Facebook can scrutinize any account that claims to be Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg. The scammers are lawbreakers and thieves. Although some law enforcement agency might figure out a way to catch these crooks, it’s high time to address a real problem that needs new laws. Facebook estimates that there are about 60 million of fake users on the platform and Mark Zuckerberg needs to anchor his propaganda to survive the recent blow. Despite all his vows to keep Facebook clean, Impostors on the loose are creating a ruckus and Lottery deception is very much alive.