With the rise of the digital age, identity theft has become an increasingly common crime. However, another dangerous practice has emerged without legal restrictions. The creation of fake profiles on social media has become increasingly commonplace, with people using these profiles for anything from anonymity to more nefarious purposes, such as online scams or ‘catfishing’ (luring someone into a relationship by means of a false online persona).
Furthermore, with the increasing value placed on ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ on social media, certain opportunistic companies will create fake users called ‘bots’ to inflate follower values (Kennedy). According to Kennedy, the black market for fake followers is reportedly a multimillion-dollar business. Today, bots are more sophisticated than ever, programmed to react like existing profiles and essentially creating a ‘digital clone’ to boost follower count (Kennedy). This process may seem harmless, but this fake following trend can be dangerous for some brands who are trying to connect with a real audience.
Moreover, with follower numbers skyrocketing to ridiculous heights, many begin to derive validation from the number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ their digital profiles can amass, leading some people to create digital personas that are not accurate representations of themselves. In our group’s video, the main character has created a ‘digital life’ for himself, represented by an Instagram profile. In the profile, his persona is cultivated with the image of branded items and money.
A Fake Social Media “Persona”
However, we viewers later learn the persona portrayed by this profile is a lie. The ‘real’ identity of the main character doesn’t care about these things, and once he realizes that he can be himself again.
Social media is exciting and fun, but as users, we must always be cognizant of reality versus pretention. Often the media suggests certain unrealistic ideals are the standard, insisting men and women must conform to body ideals and so-called ‘social norms’, however; upon closer examination, it is easy to see these standards are impossible to meet, and many of the profiles that promote them are not as perfect as they may seem. In an earlier post here, we further discuss the idea of sexualization in media and the negative effects it can have on both genders. You can’t believe everything you see on the internet, so each time you see something that looks a little too good to be true, take the time to examine whether it’s real or not.
For tips and tricks on how to identify false digital profiles, read Kennedy’s full article here.
Written by: Joelle Loo
Kennedy, John. How to Spot Fake Twitter & Facebook Profiles. Brands on Digital. November 2017. Retrieved from https://www.brandsondigital.com/blog/spot-fake-twitter-facebook-profiles/