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June 18, 2009

Fake birth blogger is reminder that not everyone online is truthful

Filed as News with 3 comments

The story of a woman who blogged about the pregnancy and birth of her terminally ill baby, later for it to be discovered that the whole story was a fabrication, broke last week in the Chicago Tribune.

A naturally emotive subject, it attracted a huge number of visitors who sent messages and gifts to the woman who identified herself as either “B” or “April’s Mom”.

Her blog was linked to by high-profile parenting blogs and, apparently, advertisers were also looking at getting involved on the site. read more

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April 15, 2009

Beyonce taking legal action over Twitter fakers?

Filed as News with no comments

In a story so short it could fit into a handful of tweets, notorious British tabloid The Sun reports that Beyonce Knowles is planning legal action against those who are pretending to be her on Twitter.

Apparently, her sister Solange said that she was being pestered by someone pretending to be the singer.

Whether this is a legitimate story is another matter. Though Twitter has been known to shut down accounts that either impersonate or are otherwise dubious, it’s possibly a better idea to ensure that your official Twitter account is well publicised so that the fakers can then be easily identified.

(Hat tip @kevindixie)

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January 28, 2009

Fake David Bowie on Twitter: Get Used to It

Glanced over the music headlines and read some David Bowie spokesperson denying that twitter.com/davidbowie is the artist. The one tweet has gotten the Twitter account a whopping 2,147 followers:

Cheers from a snowy Berlin! Working on some new material!

One tweet, published on January 5th, and a David Bowie picture and account name was all that was needed to gather that crowd. I’m sure you all see where this could lead in the future, what an excellent way to spam people. Pretend to be someone with fans, get them to follow you, trick them to buy stuff that you endorse. Problem is, the actual person your pretending to be isn’t getting any of the action, nor is she or he actually involved.

We better get used to the Twitter frauds. The more mainstream the service gets, the more we’ll see.

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January 27, 2009

British celebrities pile onto Twitter: beware the fakers

Filed as News with 8 comments

Twitter is getting some serious celebrity support in the UK at present, with a number of high-profile figures (mainly from popular TV and radio shows) now using the microblogging service.

The likes of Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand, Philip Schofield, Alan Carr and Andi Peters are definitely confirmed, while Adrian Edmonson, Rik Mayall and a host of others are either unconfirmed (by me, anyway) or are impostors (update: the “RikMayall” account is fake). (Apologies to non-UK readers who may never have heard of many of these names)

Therein lies one problem: plenty of people are happy to set up “fake” accounts and pretend to be a particular celebrity. Presumably it gives them some kind of buzz, and it’s much easier to fool at least a small number of fans online that in real life. read more

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