How to spot a fake facebook page

Harry Guinness
How to spot a fake facebook pageHarry Guinness
Writer

Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero. Read more.

How to spot a fake facebook page

There are a lot of fake Facebook pages out there. At best, they waste your time and maybe try to sell some ads. At worst, they try to scam money and personal information from you. Here’s how to spot them.

Fake Facebook pages are a big problem. Just this month it turned out that the largest Black Lives Matter Facebook page was actually being run by a white guy in Australia named Ian who buys and sells domain names—and obviously Facebook pages—as a hobby. There are millions more out there doing everything from creating scam competitions to impersonating legitimate media organizations so let’s take a look at some of the ways you can figure out if a page you’re looking at is fake.

Look to See If a Page Is Verified

Facebook pages of public figures, media companies, and brands can get verified, which means Facebook has confirmed that the page is representing who it claims to. Almost every legitimate page takes the time and effort to do it. For example, the real Southwest Airlines Facebook page is verified. You can see that by the blue tick next to the page name.

How to spot a fake facebook page

On the other hand, the fake Southwest pages aren’t verified. They don’t have a blue tick.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Verification isn’t a perfect test, but it’s still a pretty good one. Most major brands and media organizations are verified. The problem is that only big brands and media companies can get verified; smaller brands aren’t eligible. Facebook can also make mistakes if someone submits a request with the right documents (real or fake). They verified How-To Geeek, a trademark infringing knockoff of our site, and we had to file a complaint to get it taken down.

Check the Name Closely

Facebook is pretty quick to whack pages that are violating trademarks. This means that scam Facebook pages need to use a workaround if they want to stay online. This fake Southwest Airlines page is a text book example.

How to spot a fake facebook page

If you look at the name you’ll notice two things:

  • It’s spelled “South West” instead of “Southwest.”
  • There’s a “.” at the end of Airlines.

These two tricks are incredibly common with Facebook pages that are trying to impersonate legitimate brands. By intentionally and subtly misspelling the name or adding a period at the end, they can avoid Facebook’s filters while fooling random people who don’t look too closely.

It’s the same with the How-To Geeek page. If you didn’t look too closely, you probably wouldn’t have noticed the extra “e” in the name.

Look at the Listing Category for the Page

Another place where fake Facebook pages often show their true colors is in the page category listing. Certain categories require the person setting up the page to supply a lot of real information—like addresses and phone numbers that are easily checked. Fake pages won’t have this information to submit.

The real Southwest Airlines page is listed as a Travel Agent. Something like airline or travel company also would not have been suspicious. The fake pages, however, are both listed as Communities (which seems to be a go-to category for fake Facebook pages).

How to spot a fake facebook page

If the category of a Facebook page doesn’t match up with what you think it should be, then there’s a good chance the page is a fake.

Check What Kind of Content the Page Is Posting

The biggest giveaway that a page is fake isn’t its name or whether or not it’s verified; it’s the kind of content it posts. The real Southwest Airlines page posts feel good news stories about their staff.

How to spot a fake facebook page

The fake one posts about competitions that seem too good to be true. It’s almost certainly a scam designed to harvest your personal data.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Similarly, if a fake Facebook page is impersonating a news organization or political group, they are likely to post videos that too neatly align with a specific viewpoint or run counter to the views the organization normally expresses. It’s easy to create fake news reports that look authentic, and Facebook pages are currently doing it in the run up to a contentious referendum in Ireland.

Be Suspicious If Pages Ask for Donations

A lot of fake Facebook pages also pop up in response to major crises or political events. The fake Black Lives Matter page collected more than $100,000 in donations. That’s a lot of money people thought they were giving to a cause they supported that actually ended up in an Australian bank account.

While there are legitimate Facebook pages out there that solicit donations, you have to be extra careful to verify that they are who they claim to be before donating. If you want to give to a specific organization or cause, you’re much better off doing it through their official website rather than through Facebook. It’s much much easier to fake a Facebook page than a legitimate website.

Facebook has a big fake page problem. It’s much easier for people to create fake pages than it is for Facebook to police them. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what a fake Facebook page looks like.

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How to spot a fake facebook page Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero.
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How do you manage your Facebook friends? Do you keep your list really tight and only include ‘active’ pals? Or do you accept everyone you’ve ever laid eyes on? I’m probably somewhere in between. But… if I have never had a personal conversation with them and ‘eyeballed’ them in the flesh, then they don’t get a guernsey!

Over the last few weeks I have received a steady increase of friend requests from people who I just don’t know. My gut tells me that these are fake accounts. Why? I’ve never eyeballed them, they have few or no friends, and have very little personal information available to share on their profiles. I mentioned this to my 20-year-old son who informed me he gets about 10 a week!

And while it can be annoying being harassed by randoms – as my kids would say – the issue is far bigger than that. Fake Facebook accounts are usually designed by clever cyber crims who are trying to extract personal information from unsuspecting naive types – often kids. And why do they want our personal information? It allows them to put together a profile that they can use to apply for loans, mobile phone plans, etc – but we’ll get to that later.

How Big Is The Fake Account Issue?

In its latest reporting, Facebook nominated that it has a whopping 1.86 billion active monthly users. Now, in 2012 Facebook’ reporting stated that 8.7% of its accounts were either fake or duplicates. Even assuming the percentage has stayed about the same, that means there are now a monstrous 161 million fake Facebook accounts! So, it’s highly likely that you (and your kids) will have been affected.

How Can We Tell If A Facebook Account Is Fake?

Experts believe that fake accounts fall into two categories, being operated either by a bot (aka web robot) or by an ill-intentioned human. But irrespective of type, there are several warning signs that an account is fake. If the account in question displays three or more of these signs, then avoid it at all costs:

Beauty

Bots exploit beauty and often sport a pic of a gorgeously attractive girl or handsome guy on their pages. Why? We are only human – an enticing photo dramatically increases the chance of having a friend request accepted.

Not Many Pics

Bots tend not to post lots of photos. Their aim is to use minimum effort to create the illusion that a real person is behind the account so they don’t bother too much with fleshing out a personal life.

Weird Bio Information

If the biography information on the account seems fanciful or just plain unrealistic, then it’s likely not to be a legitimate account.

The Account Doesn’t Message

Bots can easily accept friend requests but can’t respond to messages. So, if you are unsure this is a great little test – just send a message and see what you get back!

Blank Wall

Blank walls are a dead giveaway for a fake account. If your possible ‘new friend’ has either no activity or just a few likes – then be suspicious!

Lots Of Likes

Some bot-controlled accounts are set up to like a certain amount of pages a day. Over time this can add up, so be wary!

Why Are Fake Facebook Accounts Created?

As mentioned earlier, cyber hackers create fake Facebook accounts with the aim of trying to friend people and get access to their personal information. Identity theft is their motivation. They can profit from this private information by personally taking out loans or credit cards in someone else’s name. Or – and this is more likely – they on-sell the information so others can do so.

But fake Facebook accounts can also be created just to make money. Buying and selling Facebook fans is a multi-million dollar business, as both companies and individuals pay big money to get fans and likes to their page. And with the software to create these fake Facebook pages costing no more than $200, you can see how easily profits can be made.

What To Do If You Are Sure A Facebook Account Is Fake

  1. Most importantly, do NOT follow or accept a friend request from the account.
  2. Report the account to Facebook by clicking the report option. When Facebook receives around 10-20 reports about a specific account they will investigate, so it’s worth doing.

Lastly, do NOT insist your kids delete their Facebook account because of the threat of fake accounts. Teaching our kids how to live online is probably one of our biggest jobs as parents of digital natives. Thinking critically, understanding risks and learning how to navigate obstacles are skills that will hold them in good stead for their entire lives. Whoever thought discussing a face Facebook account could have so many benefits!

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McAfee’s Cyber Safety Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, Alex, is a mother of four boys who juggles family, work, home life, hobbies and her children’s ever growing social lives.

Facebook crossed 2.3 Billion users this year. Last year Facebook estimated that more than 10% of these accounts are fake or duplicate. Facebook is adopting several strategies to point out fake profiles, but it is not enough. It is not just a concern for Facebook, but it is also a concern of real users like me and you. How do we trust a person on Facebook?

I have seen several users complaining that they g​ot ​duped by some other fake person on Facebook. Usually, the phony profile is created to promote some content, ideas or to fraud other persons. A genuine user will share his daily activity or thoughts on Facebook which could be random as we like different things. However, a fake profile usually shares about one thing that it is meant to promote.

If you look carefully at the profile, you can tell whether the profile is fake or genuine. Below are some points that you can consider to spot a fake Facebook profile.

#1 Check: The Profile Picture

The first thing you see in a profile on Facebook is their profile picture. You can tell if a profile is genuine or fake by looking at it. Below are some concerns that you should check with the profile picture.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Single Profile Picture

An active user on Facebook regularly changes his/her profile picture. If you see only one profile picture and the profile is new or 2-3 years old, it should raise a concern.

Profile Pictures of Celebrities

Its okay if someone is a fan of a celebrity, but he will not put all profile pictures of that celebrity on his Facebook profile.

No Profile Picture

The Facebook name is enough to compel someone to put a picture on the profile. If it is not there, it is alarming enough.

A Perfect Profile Picture

Usually, people click pictures with the phone camera, and these pictures aren’t perfect. If you are seeing a picture of a model with a perfect angle and lighting, then it might be a fake one.

To ensure if a profile picture is genuine you can save it to your computer and then can use Google Image Search to verify. When you upload it to Google Image, it will fetch data if someone else belongs to that image.

To do that Right click on the profile picture and click Save image as and then save it to your computer,

How to spot a fake facebook page

Now open Google Image search and click on the Camera icon

How to spot a fake facebook page

Click on Upload an image and then click on Choose file, select the profile picture and upload it.

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When Juanita Molinar was contacted by HGTV’s Property Brothers telling her that she had won a prize, she was excited. Ecstatic. Over the moon. until she noticed that things weren’t quite adding up. After doing some research, she realized that she’d nearly fallen for a scam Facebook page, a nefarious type of Facebook giveaway scam.

If you're not careful, you could fall prey to a similar scam. So before you answer a win notification on Facebook, be sure to get to know what a Facebook scam looks like and how to avoid it.

How a Facebook Giveaway Scam Works

Juanita Molinar is a Property Brothers fan, so she followed the show's page on Facebook. She was thrilled and surprised when one of the show's stars, Drew Scott, started to send her private messages. He asked her some questions, then told her she'd won $25,000 from the Dream it, Win it, Live it Sweepstakes.

This passed one of the initial checks you should make when you're notified of a prize win: The Dream It, Win It, Live It Sweepstakes was a legitimate giveaway run by HGTV giving away that prize.

Molinar was thrilled at first, but soon began to feel that something wasn’t right: Her so-called win had some of the warning signs of sweepstakes scams.

One of the things that made her worry was that the person calling himself "Drew Scott" was asking her to make a purchase before receiving her prize.

Legitimate sweepstakes prizes never come with a catch. You never need to pay to receive a real prize!

When she investigated further, she discovered that she was the target of a Facebook giveaway scam. The profile that had contacted her did not belong to Drew Scott at all.

Molinar wasn’t the only person who was targeted by this sweepstakes scam. Renee Carr had a very similar experience, and luckily also realized she was being scammed.

When they found out what was happening, the Property Brothers made an official statement about the scam on Facebook.

How Scammers Use Fake Facebook Pages

To seem legitimate, scammers create fake pages to use for Facebook giveaway scams. It’s usually a page that looks like it belongs to someone you’d trust: a big company like Publishers Clearing House or a famous person like a well-known HGTV star or a popular celebrity.

These pages look legitimate, trustworthy. Scammers steal logos, photographs, and other graphics to make the page look like it belongs to the person or company they are imitating.

Because no one would believe in an HGTV page that has no followers, they build up their numbers by placing Facebook ads, creating other fake accounts to give their fake pages lots of "likes", offering incentives like Facebook quizzes or small giveaways to get people to like the page, and other tricks.

Once their fake page is followed by a significant number of real people, they contact those followers to tell them they've won a prize.

Who wouldn’t be tempted to give up personal information or money to get that big prize they’ve been dreaming of? But they are actually attempting to convince their targets to hand over money or information that they can use for identity fraud.

So how can you tell the difference between a legitimate prize win and a Facebook giveaway scam? Here are a few ways to spot a Facebook scam:

Know the Red Flags of a Scam

Start by knowing the signs of a sweepstakes scam. If you're used to watching out for sweepstakes fraud, then Facebook contest scams will have warning signs that you're already familiar with. Are they using terrible grammar and spelling that you would never expect on a professional site? Or asking for money or for other personal information? If so, stay clear!

Check Whether the Facebook Page Is Verified

Facebook verifies the identities of certain organizations and celebrities that are likely to be faked. Pages that Facebook has verified, like the White House’s Facebook page, have a blue checkmark next to their name on their profiles. You can be confident that verified pages are legitimate.

Note, however, that not being verified does not mean that the page is not legitimate. Currently, companies cannot request that Facebook verify their pages. The legitimate pages of many large and legitimate websites have not been verified.

Check the Company's Website for Legit Facebook Pages

If you want to find the legitimate Facebook page of your favorite companies, start with their websites rather than a Facebook search. If you follow a link from the company's site, you can be confident that they endorse that page.

Be Wary of Friend Requests from Celebrities

t might be flattering to think that your favorite television and movie stars are trying to be your Facebook friends. But remember, there are millions of people on Facebook. Unless you happen to have a personal relationship with a celebrity, it's unlikely that they're asking to be your Facebook friend.

PCH repeatedly reminds the public that they do not send friend requests: “Fact: No member of the Prize Patrol will send you a friend request on Facebook”. And they only have one official page. Their Prize Patrol members no longer have individual pages, to make imitating them harder for scammers.

Other Signs That Something Is Off

Celebrities and big companies usually have tons of followers and a page full of interesting posts about topics that are important to them. So if the page was founded recently, has few if any recent posts, has bad spelling or grammar, has a low number of followers who don't interact much with the page, or makes posts that don't seem to fit the goals and the reputation of the company posting them, proceed with caution.

By following these tips, you can avoid the risks and disappointment of falling for a Facebook giveaway scam.

On the internet, you could be anyone who you want to be. In simpler terms, you don’t need an Identification card (I.D.) if you’re joining social networking websites. Although security checks are still rampant, you could be anyone online. Here in the Philippines, thousands of Facebook pages and profiles are created everyday. The sad part is that most of those profiles are fake. They try to get into people’s messages, they post and sell ads, and they try to scam your money and personal information.

In a previous article we discussed about identifying and reporting fake Facebook profiles. In this article, however, we will be discussing how you can recognize a fake Facebook page.

Wait, why do we need to spot a fake Facebook page in the first place?

Seeing and knowing if a Facebook page is legit is as important as recognizing a fake Facebook profile. Facebook pages are usually companies, businesses, discussion groups, trade channels – they can be anything. The more people in a page, the better. Recognizing a fake Facebook page secures yourself from scammers, spammers, even cyber criminals and hackers. In addition to that, you can save yourself hassle in controlling what you see whenever you’re in your Facebook News Feed.

Fake Facebook pages are the worst. They will try to sell you some ads and clicks, they will try to get personal information from you and use that to their advantage. This is why we all need to be careful when we’re dealing with something we cannot physically see.

So how do you spot a fake Facebook page?

Page verification

How to spot a fake facebook page

Facebook pages of media companies, known people, public figures, and brands can get verified. What does being verified mean? Well, this means that Facebook itself made the confirmation that the page is truly representing the name it bears. A Facebook profile can also be verified under the same process. Almost every legitimate page takes the time and effort to do it; the reason for that of course is for them to attract more people and for the people to know that they’re legitimate.

For example, Trivago, the well-known travel agency has a Facebook page. If you click on the page, you will see that beside the page name, there is a blue tick or check mark. This is the indication that a certain profile or page is verified.

Alternatively, if you see that the page you’re viewing does not have a tick box, means it hasn’t been verified. Although it does not necessarily mean it’s fake, it’s just that it has less credibility since Facebook itself did not approve it.

Another is through the page reviews

Before buying something, you would first know what it contains, right? Furthermore, you would be interested in learning what other people thought about the product. Same goes with a Facebook page. Fortunately, Facebook allows reviews of pages so people interested in getting services from the page would know what type of service the page has.

Checking the reviews thoroughly would not only allow you to see if something is real or fake; reviews also allow you to have different options if you think the services a certain brand/company is offering is not for you.

Look closely at the name

One thing Facebook did well was by implementing strict rules in terms of duplication and trademark violations. If a certain trademark is already being used, fake Facebook page owners need a workaround to get their page up and running.

How to spot a fake facebook page

In this example, it is obvious that this is not the Trivago that we know. Why? Try googling “Trivago Hotels,” and look what you’ll find. Usually, legitimate brand names come up at the top part of Google Search.

There are some fake pages that add different characters like periods (.) at the end of a certain word; they add or remove a few words if the Facebook page name is modifiable, and so on. They make these efforts so they can pass Facebook’s filters and be safe with their scheme. They find it easy to manipulate people because careless people and those not keen on detail would easily be fooled.

Check the category listings of the Facebook page

How to spot a fake facebook page

In the image, you will see that the legit Trivago has its category under “Hotel.” The one which isn’t so real has it as a “Travel Agent” and the name is Trivago Hotels. Smell something fishy? I know. Another tip is to quickly look at it because most scams and fake Facebook pages will have their listings as “Community.” Do you really think that a brand would categorize their business like that? I think not…

What things do they post?

Now this tip might be a little difficult to notice for some. There are scams that have perfected their art and what they share or post are truly brainwashing. They will ask you to click something or to sign up for something and it will, eventually tell you to log-in using your Facebook credentials; asking you to accept that they’ll be using your information.

Another thing to take note of is that most fake Facebook pages offer a lot of discounts that are hard-to-believe. Would you believe a consistent posting of deals and prices that would be astounding especially for the naive?

How can you help other people avoid these scams?

Honestly speaking, there are a lot of people still fooled by these scams. One thing is that they’re unaware that they exist, another is because they’re not just too careful with what they see and look at online. You can start making them aware by actually sharing this article to them. Another thing is by giving a review of the page you think and know is fake and that might steal information from other people.

Right now, there are hundreds, if not thousands of fake Facebook pages. We don’t know their main reason of doing that but for sure, they’re in to scam people, make money out of them – or worse, squeeze personal information from thousands of different people and use it to their advantage. Whatever the case is, it won’t hurt if you just try to keep safe. I’m not talking about Facebook alone; all social media platforms have fakes. Facebook is just the main platform for Fakes because hell more than a billion people use it.

So be careful and be keen to detail. As much as possible, try staying away from having interactions with the page to avoid being scammed. Facebook has this big problem of eliminating these. However, since there have been countless incidents of scams all over the platform, they’re for sure addressing this and they’re doing what they can to remove it completely.

There are definately a lot of fake Facebook profiles out there. Numbers released from Facebook themself suggests that 83 million facebook accounts are fake – that’s more than the total number of people living in France and the Netherlands combined! An estimated 5-6% of all Facebook accounts are fake. Fake autogenerated profiles offer the creators of those the possibility of spamming your wall with weird content and also bloat the number of fans for certain pages.

There are some studies of fake Facebook profiles that indicate that fake profiles have a higher average number of friends and most often identify themselves as females. For identifying whether a specific profile is fake these studies however only offer vague clues.

So how to spot a fake Facebook profile?

Looking at a company Facebook page the other day I noticed an unnatural high number of fans for that type of company but strangely very low fan activity on the same Facebook page. Very few likes and no comments made it a bit of a strange case. I did find a few Likes though and decided to have a closer look at those profiles. I came up with the following little trick which also will introduce you to a great and not that well-known feature of Google. Here goes:

1. Locate the Profile image of the Facebook profile you want to check. For this little test let’s use the SPAMfighter Aim logo present on the SPAMfighter Facebook page.

How to spot a fake facebook page

2. Right-click on the image and save it somewhere where you easily can find it again! The Windows desktop would be a great place!

3. Now enter Google Image Search. Google Image Search is a great tool where you can search for images based on other images. I would suggest using Google Chrome or Firefox as Browser here. For some reason it does not seem to work for Internet Explorer 9.

4. Drag the recently saved file from your desktop til the search field. It is a little nifty but you will probably work it out!

How to spot a fake facebook page

5. Now Google Image Search will check where the image is present on Facebook profiles and a lot of other places on the Internet.

If we for a moment return to my original fake profile my search using the above method actually produced a lot of Facebook profiles having the same profile image. See below. My best guess is that most of those Facebook profiles are fake!

How to spot a fake facebook pageRemember to delete any profile images you download from Facebook by the way. Pretty sure Facebook or Facebook users don’t want their profile images laying around on your computer!

Are anyone stealing your Facebook profile image?

A nice little test would of cource be to test whether any fake Facebook profiles use your profile image? Using the test above it is pretty easy to reveal. So locate your own Facebook page, save the profile image you use and do the Google image search. If you notice your profile image present on other profiles I suggest you report it to Facebook using this link.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. It’s a great place to connect with friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, some set of people abuse it by creating a fake Facebook account.

A fake Fakebook account is one where someone creates an account and is pretending to be you or your friend, and also one where your email address might also have been used to create a Facebook account.

Facebook is actively putting in so much effort to crack down on fake Facebook accounts. It’s also currently illegal to create a fake Facebook account in the UK. Those who do so might face criminal charges.

You may sometimes spot a new Facebook account created in your name and with your picture, it might also be in the name of someone you know. This is quite a common occurrence on Facebook. The best way to get it sorted is to report the Facebook account. You should also block the Facebook account to stop the impostor from sending you messages or viewing your post.

Table of Contents

How to Report a Fake Facebook Account

Before you report a Facebook account as fake, you need to establish the fact that it is actually a fake Facebook account. If they created the account using your personal details such as name and photos, you obviously don’t need to do any checks.

Sometimes people create a new Facebook account because they can’t remember their password, this is probably because they recently changed their phone or did a phone reset to give the phone a boost.

Therefore, it is important to check that the account is a fake Facebook account before reporting it to Facebook. You can do this by either contacting your Facebook friend (outside Facebook) with the possible fake account and ask if he/she has recently opened a new Facebook account.

How to Report a Fake Facebook Account with PC

1. Go to the profile of the impersonating Facebook account. You can also search for the profile by entering the name used in the search bar at the top left corner of Facebook. You can also ask someone to send you the link.

How to spot a fake facebook page

2. Click the three horizontal dots

3. Next, tap Find support or report profile in the pop-up menu.

How to spot a fake facebook page

4. You will get a pop-up page with several options, you can select the reason that the fake account falls under, for example, if someone has used your personal details to create a fake Facebook account, you’d select Fake account or Pretending to be someone .

How to spot a fake facebook page

5. Click on Next , then tick the I believe that this goes against the Facebook’s community standards box.

How to spot a fake facebook page

6. You’ll get the message below;

Report received: Your report helps us to improve our processes and keeps Facebook safe for everyone.

In review: We use technology and review teams to remove anything that doesn’t follow our standards as quickly as possible.

Decision made: We’ll notify you about the outcome in your Support Inbox as soon as possible.

7. Click Next , it will then prompt you to either Block, unfriend, unfollow the account whilst waiting for an outcome from Facebook.

How to spot a fake facebook page

8. Click Done , to exit the page.

How to Report a Fake Facebook Account with Mobile app

The steps for reporting a fake Facebook account using the Facebook mobile app are the same as using a PC.

How to Report a Fake Facebook Messenger Account- App

1. Go to the conversation/person you’d like to report on Messenger.

2. Tap on the i icon at the top right corner of the messenger app. at the bottom of the new page, tap Something’s wrong .

How to spot a fake facebook page

3. Next, tap Pretending to Be Someone as your category, then select who they are pretending to be.

4. Finally, click Send Feedback to submit it.

How to Report a Fake Facebook Messenger Account- Web

1. Open the conversation of the person you need to report to Facebook.

2. Click on the person’s name at the top of the chat box in the chat box.

3. Click on View profile , then follow the guide above on how to report a fake Facebook account on PC

How to Spot a Fake Facebook account.

1. Check the profile picture; They usually create fake Facebook accounts with pictures of celebrities or pictures of models. Also, if the profile picture is too perfect, it’s most likely a fake Facebook account.

2. Check if you can view any information on their profile such as friend list, if it’s hidden and you have no mutual friends, or if there’s very little or no activities on their facebook feed, it’s most likely a fake Facebook profile.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Have you seen a Facebook Page with a huge number of fans even though they are a small business and you wonder how that happened? Or maybe you are doing an audit on a Page and are digging into their fanbase a little deeper. You want to know if they have fake fans on the Facebook Page.

There can be a lot of pressure to show “social proof” and get a lot of Likes on Facebook Pages. But now with the decreased Reach on Facebook Pages, maybe no one cares WHAT you do with your Facebook Page anymore 🙂

I still think that fake fans aren’t good for a Page for a few reasons:

  1. If you are retargeting your Facebook Fans in ads (which is a good thing to do) you are not advertising to the right people.
  2. People can see that you have fake fans and your credibility may suffer.
  3. Your organic reach to the true fans you have may suffer because Facebook sees little interaction on your Page.

What are Fake Facebook Fans?

First of all, what does a Fake Fan even mean? Typically, fake profile accounts are in overseas countries like Nigeria, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

People have created a business “selling” Fans to people but also, business owners can get cheap fake fans by advertising for Facebook Likes in those countries. This inflates the size of the Facebook Page so they think it looks better.

I do realize that there are lots of “real” profiles in the countries I mentioned but these countries do seem to have more than their fair share of “fake” profiles.

FB Like Check to Spot Fake Fans

At the time of this writing FB Like Check is a working tool – although I’ve seen it have periods of not working. Access it here: http://www.fblikecheck.com/

Add the web address of the Page and the 3 digit code to prove you aren’t a robot and you can see what countries the fans are from.

Then you will see the breakdown of fans from each country for the Facebook Page.

How to spot a fake facebook page

The biggest flag is if the business is primarily focused in one country and the majority of the fans are from other countries. There can be exceptions to this but that is concern.

There are other tools that can give you this type of data as well but this is a quick, easy, and free tool.

Watch the Facebook Page Engagement

If a tool isn’t available, another way to watch for Fake Fans is to look at the type of engagement the Page gets. Is it all from other countries or seemingly “robotic” messages?

How to spot a fake facebook page

That can be an indication, but again, not always a perfect correlation.

How to Remove Fake Fans from Your Facebook Page

Unfortunately the process to “clean up” your Facebook Page is tedious and time consuming. So this may be a reason some Pages don’t do it.

You need to manually scroll to the time frame when you may have added the fake profiles. Typically a Page owner knows that during a certain time, they advertised to the countries that had more fake profiles or maybe they actually “purchased” some fake profiles during a time frame.

To remove fake fans from your Facebook Page:

  1. Click Settings on your Page.
  2. Select People and Other Pages from the left side.
  3. Scroll to the Facebook profiles you want to remove and check the box next to their name (you can select several at a time).
  4. Click the wheel just above the list of names of People who Like this Page (right side next to Search box).
  5. Select Remove from Page Likes. You can also Ban people from the dropdown menu but that’s not typically necessary for fake profiles.

How to spot a fake facebook page

This is a very manual and time-consuming process and I would suggest doing it in small batches (or hiring someone to do it for you) if you have a lot. You may have to scroll all the way back up to the top to select the wheel and remove people.

Another thing that happens if you select too many is that you can “lose your work” so small batches is better.

The other thing is that it can be hard to really tell a “fake profile” from a real one because the fake profile creators have gotten better. But here are a few things I have noticed about fake profiles:

  1. They have very few photos or posts (but these can be hidden).
  2. They like hundreds and hundreds of Pages.
  3. They have very few friends and interactions (again, these can be hidden).

It’s not always crystal clear and I would ere on the side of not removing a profile rather than removing it if there is a doubt.

So hope that helps you decide if your competition is “faking it” with their fans. Overall, I don’t think it matters that much but I do think it matters if a company brags about how may fans they have when they all are fake!

How about you, have you see this happening out there? What do you think when you see that a Facebook Page has inflated numbers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Facebook, Twitter and Google executives have been invited to testify in Washington on Wednesday about foreign influence campaigns and disinformation online ahead of the midterm elections in November.

The problem has been far reaching. Over the summer, Facebook announced the discovery of hundreds of fake pages and user accounts on its site. Some pages appeared to specifically target Americans with divisive messages, using the same tactics that Russian operatives did to influence voters during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

The latest influence campaigns also imitated posts by legitimate pages and groups on Facebook that advocate political beliefs, making it difficult to tell what was a genuine post and what was not. Let’s compare some to see if you can tell the difference. Spoiler: It isn’t easy.

One of these posts was from a genuine Facebook page that supports feminism, and the other was part of an influence campaign. Can you guess which post is from a fake page?

How to spot a fake facebook page

Influence Campaign

How to spot a fake facebook page

Real Page

“Resisters” was a fake account that Facebook removed in July. “Feminist News” is a real Facebook page, as far as we can tell. (We asked Facebook to confirm the examples of real accounts used here are in fact authentic, and were told there was no apparent reason to suspect otherwise.)

The Resisters page existed for more than a year and described itself as “online and offline feminist activism against fascism,” according to Facebook and researchers at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which analyzes disinformation online and works with Facebook.

You may have guessed the post was from a fake page if you looked closely at the language: “Girls make rules and you follow them. If you don’t like it you live. End of the story.”

Broken English is not a sure sign that a post is part of an influence operation. But grammatical errors were a common trait among the Russian ads Facebook disclosed in 2017 — particularly the misuse of “a” and “the,” which don’t exist in the Russian language.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Although Facebook has still not tied this page to Russia, the language used in its posts and several other factors suggest a connection. For one, a Russian account that Facebook removed in 2017 had been set as an administrator of the Resisters page, though “for only seven minutes,” Facebook said. Before being shut down, a Russian account had also shared an event created by the Resisters page with its followers.

And on Twitter, an account with the name “ReSisters” and the handle “@resisteszunion” was identified this year as one created by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency.

The page’s most notable activity was an effort to organize a counterprotest to a conservative rally. It created an Aug. 10 event titled “No Unite the Right 2 — DC” to protest a planned white supremacist rally in Washington. The page coordinated with administrators of other Facebook pages, and persuaded five of them to share the event with their followers.

How to spot a fake facebook page

Facebook removed the event page before the rally, and informed 3,200 users who either expressed interest in the counterprotest or said they would attend about the suspicious activity behind it.