With the advent of technology and this whole new bulge of social media every individual has become powerful in some way or the other. The whole world is just a click away from being accessed. Every user of social media has his or her opinion which they blatantly express and perhaps misuse this power to make themselves heard without any check and balance. For this reason they sometimes go beyond lines to act in a particular way that causes damage to the other person. Social networking participants spend huge sum of money to appear more important, followed, prestigious, cool, or generally "liked" than they really are.
Talking about the check and balance we specifically refer to this plague of fake accounts that has curbed almost everyone by totally invading their privacy and harming their personal life. Social networking has been the "in" thing for a quite some time now, and it makes perfect sense for the networks because they are merely the distributors of terabytes of free, third party created content affording them multi-billion dollar appraisals without generating a penny in profits, while for users it provides the opportunity to be seen, to be evaluated or liked on one's objective, impartial merits and to maybe go viral, potentially making money in the process.
These fake accounts have caused a lot of disturbance and created problems that never existed initially. Especially talking about the illegitimacy of these accounts which by law have no right to exist in the first place, secondly even if they do, they should be undergone a proper mechanism of check and balance that shall not permit them to participate in activities that could harm or invade other people’s privacy. Celebrities tend to be highly affected by this because there are several fake accounts that are made with their names and that is how their fans are misguided their pictures, etc are leaked. There should be an official logo that guarantees the legitimacy of a particular valid account. Such restrictions and imposition seem to lack especially on Facebook, which is highly affected by this nuisance of fakeness that has earned facebook a new title called ‘Fake Book’.
Facebook believes there are now more than 83 million illegitimate accounts on the social network. Duplicate profiles belonging to already registered users made up 4.8% of its membership figure. User-misclassified accounts amounted to 2.4% including personal profiles for businesses etc. while 1.5% of users were described as undesirable. The estimate comes at a time of growing concern about the efficiency of marketing on the platform. When Facebook announced that it had reached one billion users, back in late 2012, the company e-Marketer estimated that almost 900 million of them were actually real people. Facebook has affirmed itself that there are replica, fakes and bots account for about nine per cent of all accounts. Working out the real and fake, the active from the inactive, is big business when so much money is being invested into advertising online, and customers more progressively look out for user recommendations before buying things. Online clients’ comments, responses, appraises, affiliations and likes are an important steer for customer preference.
The fake like or fake account issue has been a years’ long botheration at Facebook. Even though the actual rate of dubious activity on Facebook is a small percentage of its entire users, it brings doubts to the social network's reputation. Facebook has been sued over invalid clicks in the past. There are persistent reports of fake likes coming from the accounts of friends who have passed away. The system has had flaws in the past that have increased the number of likes on a page. Not just the celebrities, the common people are also highly influenced by this, especially when their accounts are hacked. They lose all their personal data including pictures and videos, which are highly confidential and significant for a particular person. There is no backup to retrieve that information and data and also the authorities do not really cooperate with the victims because they do not have any proof if the person who’s complaining is the real hacker or user. The users also complain that the facebook authorities fail to take any action and take ages to reply to their complaints.
Facebook tried to tackle this problem by disabling any false accounts it finds, and while it wipes all the information associated with the name from public view, it does not delete the account from its main server ‘for safety and security’ reasons. The disabled account goes into a sort of Facebook halfway house, where the owner of the account cannot get their hands on any of the content like photos, posts, videos, not even by requesting a copy of the data. If Facebook does shut down your account, it says you can't create a new one without permission from the company. What kind of help they are providing to the users? If they cannot give them back their data what is the purpose of saving it at their main servers?
It seems as if this attempt of Facebook has been a massive failure because it has not done any good to the users. They keep facing these problems of fake accounts while losing their personal data, once it gets hacked by somebody. It is also observed that many people tend to leave facebook because of this issue. It’s high time that the authorities get serious on this and take some concrete steps to defy this issue.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 23-Feb-2014