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    How to spot a fake Facebook page

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    Cape Town – Chicken Licken was in hot water, after several offensive posts were posted on Facebook.

    It turns out that the account was fake and people were urged to report the posts, as well as the Facebook account.

    This fake Facebook account had 16 000 followers and 16 500 likes when they posted offensive and derogatory posts including an “ad” saying: “Coloureds this is for you because you don’t have teeth to chew Bones”, among others.

    Fake Facebook accounts can cause brands to take reputational damage, so it is up to us to know how to identify these fake Facebook accounts. After all, you do not want to be sharing these posts and risk being branded as a “WhatsApp aunty”, right?

    But how do you know how to identify a fake Facebook account? Don’t worry, we can assist you. These are the questions to ask yourself if you think a Facebook page might be fake.

    Is it verified?

    That blue tick on social media pages is not only to make influencers look more pretentious than they already do. It is also a way for brands to set themselves apart.

    Facebook pages of public figures, media companies, and brands can get verified, which means Facebook has verified that the page is representing who it claims to.

    The only problem is that only big brands and companies can get verified. Smaller brands are not eligible for verification.

    Does the name look sketchy? No? Look closely.

    It is always worth double-checking the name. To impersonate brands, the fake accounts would subtly misspell the name or add a period at the end. This gives them the chance to avoid Facebook’s filters, as well as fool people who don’t look too closely.

    What does it say on the listing category for the page?

    What if it is a small brand and it’s not verified and the name looks right? Check the listing category on the page. Fake Facebook pages, imitating brands, often give themselves away here.

    Certain categories require the person setting up the page to supply a lot of real information, such as physical addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Fake pages won’t have this information to submit. Or they would have a Gmail email address. *Cough* the fake Chicken Licken account *cough*.

    If the category of a Facebook page doesn’t match up with what it should be, there’s a high possibility the page is a fake.

    What kind of content is the page posting?

    Sometimes, the biggest giveaway that a page is fake does not lie in the name or whether or not it’s verified – it’s the kind of content it posts.

    Take the Chicken Licken debacle as example. The fake Facebook page, which has since been taken down, had a number of derogatory posts and ads. The captions were also not like the ones found on the real Chicken Licken Facebook page.

    If pages ask for donations or money, it’s a red flag

    While there are legitimate Facebook pages that solicit donations and ask for money, you have to be extra vigilant to verify that they are who they claim to be, before donating.

    If you want to give to a specific organisation or cause, rather do so through their official website, rather than through Facebook.


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