No one is giving Facebook or Meta or Mark Zuckerberg a free pass these days. Criticism is a daily event and their PR people must be in constant firefighting mode. But Facebook has been doing things to protect privacy and security and Facebook I keep hearing ads on podcasts about how they are promoting safety. Unfortunately, the criticism is usually drowning out the tools they do offer and the actions they are taking. If you are on Facebook, you should be doing your part in protecting your account. Much of online protection is a matter of personal responsibility.
One of the areas that often gets attention is fake accounts. By the end of 2019, Facebook removed a staggering 5.5 billion fake accounts. Plenty of companies would be happy to have that many legitimate accounts but Facebook far exceeds that number. The removals continue and from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2021 they removed approximately 1.8 billion fake accounts, up from 1.3 billion fake accounts in the corresponding quarter in 2020.
Why would anyone want to make a fake account?
Scammers use fake Facebook accounts to connect with users and then their friends to scrape personal information. That can be used to steal identities. They can also reach out to anyone who's accepted that fake friend request to try and scam them, since this fake account is sending friend requests to all your friends. This is called Facebook cloning.
I have seen a number of my friends' accounts be cloned using a few photos they have made public and any "public" information. When a clone of your account is created using your name you are not the real object of attention. It is actually your friends that are the target and the hope is that your friends will accept the fake friend request.
The cloned account often looks quite bare. Some people immediately recognize that they are already friends with that person/name and know this new request is fake. But if you have many friends or accept requests without looking a bit closer, you can be scammed. If you accept that friend request, the scammer now has access to your friend-visible information and then your friends' accounts' personal information. This access expands rapidly even if not everyone accepts the requests.
To report a fake account, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/306643639690823
You should also take the initiative to use some tools Facebook offers and do some protecting on your own.
Privacy Checkup - helps you control who can see what you share, how your information is used and how to secure your account.
You see the message if you click next to the ad "Why Am I Seeing This Ad?" You can adjust what ads you see starting with that one.
Off-Facebook Activity is a tool most users don't know about. It lets you control or disconnect the information businesses send to Meta about your activity on other apps and websites.
And you can download or request and export your data so you can move it between services.
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