Would you friend someone on Facebook who came from your hometown?
It’s possible you just don’t remember their face because you have a few mutual friends and he looks like a good guy. He even has his daughter in the profile picture with him.
In the case of “Melvin Redick,” enough people trusted a profile based on these facts to kick off a “unprecedented foreign intervention in American democracy,” The New York Times reports.
Melvin Redick was not, in fact, from Harrisburg, PA – the pictures associated with the account were ripped from a Brazilian man’s profile – and the posts Melvin made promoting a site devoted to leaking confidential U.S. Government information were not coming from a Pennsylvanian at all.
These fake profiles, created to influence American’s political views before the 2016 election, weren’t contained to Facebook alone. Twitter was also flooded with fake profiles because, unlike Facebook, Twitter does not require its users to use a full name at all (real or fake).
Facebook estimates that about 126 million Americans may have seen content that was distributed through fake profiles by The Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm. This content was highly controversial and politically divisive and is widely believed to have had a significant effect on the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election.
Online identity theft no longer affects only the individual user whose content was stolen, but can have wide-reaching affects on their social network and ultimately influence an entire nation. More and more fake profiles are created every day – make sure none of the identity thieves behind them are able to use your likeness to advance their agenda.
FaceChex offers affordable protection plans that make sure no one can hide behind your pictures.
Learn more on our Youtube Channel. Below our founder dives deeper into this subject: