Social media impersonation - part 2

Social media impersonation - part 2

Last week we looked at the basic characteristics of social media impersonation. This week we will study more closely the different social networks, and what you can do if you are impersonated.

Which social networks are affected? 

Facebook is a widely used platform, and many companies have official pages on this network. 

In general, these scams are used to collect personal information, which can then be sold to marketing companies or used for illegal purposes.

LinkedIn is a platform that is mainly oriented towards professionals. 

Twitter is a public messaging platform used by individuals, brands, political parties and institutions. 

Instagram is a platform used by many people, but small businesses, solopreneurs and influencers are particularly well represented. 

What to do if you are a victim of identity theft? 

Social media platforms all have tools to request the removal of fake accounts. 


This page allows you to report a fake account


This page explains what to do to report impersonation.

You can either report directly or report from a profile or a tweet.

However, keep in mind that on Twitter, humoristic accounts are allowed. If the account makes fun of you it won't be removed.


Instagram will only investigate identity theft if it is reported by the victim or a representative of the victim. If you know the person but are not legally representing them, you should inform them so they can take action themselves.

If you have an Instagram account, you need to go through the application menu - the "..."' - then click on "report". 

If you don’t have an Instagram account this page has a form for reports.

Is it effective?

Very often it takes a lot of effort to get a fake account removed. The support department of social media platforms is often very difficult to reach, and most will only respond with automated messages.

This influencer, for example, was lucky - her company's fake account was quickly deleted - but she says that 3 people worked several days full time to deal with the issue. She also reported that communicating directly with Instagram was close to impossible.

This blogger, on the other hand, is having so much trouble getting the pro-Trump copy of her account removed that she is asking her community for help in reporting it. In her case, the attack seems very personal and probably goes beyond a simple commercial nuisance.

This report, by NATO's Strategic Communications Team - which focuses on the manipulation of social media for political purposes - even showed that more than 90% of the accounts reported were never removed.

Be proactive

You can do a regular search on social media for your brand name or personal name. However, don't forget to add credible variations - double a letter, add a symbol like an underscore, a number... 

If you have specific hashtags (containing your brand name for example), don't forget to check them regularly too.

You can also use Google Images to search for images identical to your logo, banner, or personal photos.

If this monitoring seems complicated and time-consuming, don't hesitate to hire a team of experts 

On social networks, it is very easy to usurp an identity. A constant watch is therefore necessary to ensure that no one steals your brand's identity or is impersonating you. The stakes are high for a brand - e-reputation is everything! Such a situation can undermine consumer trust, and therefore make you lose business.  

Next week we will focus on piracy and video games.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+