Fakes and Bots Do Nothing Good For Anyone.
Speculation has been made that over 20% of the profiles on Facebook and 33% on LinkedIn are not real people. How do you protect your business and yourself from falling for the shenanigans of these actors? We are going to show you some tips that you can use, but before we do that, we should discuss why there are so many. Several companies, mainly overseas have a litter of profiles they use to interact with each other to throw off advertising numbers, if the publication boasts a million subscribers but no one really interacts, chances are you met an army of bots. Bot profiles are not tied to any real human being, they will have clip art pictures, and no interaction on their public social footprint, the advertising sales guys have been hip to that for years and several are guilty of making their robots interact with each other to make something appear popular. Fake profiles are more sinister, these are profiles that are tied to a human being posing as someone they are not. These types of profiles can throw off your advertising budget, and could cause you to speculate future forecasts off of tainted numbers.
Cracking the shell
There are a few things you should do, starting with viewing their profile. Even if it is a familiar name or profile picture, make sure you look at their profile, Their public profile will show some pictures, and some will show mutual friends or their friend's list.
Profile picture - Reverse image search the picture, this does two things, it shows who might really own the picture, and it will show how many profiles it is tied to, A dead giveaway sign is if John Doe is using Dale Earnhart's profile picture as his own. Is there only one public image? These images should have the same person in them over several pictures.
Nothing in the "About me" section, it seems like common sense that if the profile is not a business page profile, that there should be SOMETHING about them in the about me section. I like seeing if there are life events.
New Profile, let's face it, we have been dealing with social media for years, new profiles are a tall tale sign that someone was either hacked or dodging drama from an ex. New accounts that have nothing established but approach you to fund a business are scams. Sure, there are people that have a "professional profile" vs a "private one" but if they are not out here doing dirty deeds they shouldn't have anything to worry about and the social proof of a real profile would make their customers feel better.
No one tagged or liked any public pictures, this is where it gets interesting, when you see one that appears real, and you are breezing through their public pictures, try finding if there is a common denominator of people that give the pictures a thumbs up. When you check those, if you are on a bot or fake profile, the people leaving the thumbs up are going to be the real people behind the profile or more bots.
If it seems suspect, leave it alone- This seems like it would go without saying, but if you chase down fake profiles or bots to follow your page, you are doing yourself no favors. Bots do not buy and fakes don't either. Furthermore, with the new algorithm in Google, Facebook, and TikTok, the fake profile could cause your profile, and your business profile to become shadowbanned.
Before you accept them, message them if you are still in doubt. You should especially do this if you get a friends request from someone who is already on your friends' list. Over the last 12 months, there has been an uptick of people cloning profiles to satisfy personal vendettas and scam unsuspecting people on the internet.
It is social media, not "sell me whatever" media.
In conclusion, if you know that you have found a fake profile, or a bot, you should report it to the admin of the social media platform, in most cases, the profile will be removed. Facebook will do an identification validation on suspect profiles if enough people are reporting them.
Reporting fake profiles helps everyone in the community to enjoy safer interactions. I am sure you would agree, it's better to do business with people you can get to know. In my opinion, you should not do business with anyone that is not willing to work with their real profile.
Reporting Fakes and Bots
How to report fake/impersonating accounts on TikTok?
Go to the profile of the fake / impersonating account you want to report.
Tap on (on top right of the screen)
Tap on the flag to “Report”
Select “Report account”
Further Select “Pretending to be someone”