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What's in a Name?

As fake news sites on Facebook have taken the world by storm, the effects of this “satire” has led to some extreme actions. While federal agencies are concerned with fake news effecting the election, individual law enforcement personnel need to be concerned as well. Facebook has begun to crack down on fake news sites and criminal profiles. The latest victim of this purge are profiles that do not use authentic names and fake profiles used for undercover purposes.

Back in late 2015, Facebook began to suspend users accounts that were reported and in some cases considered accounts that used fake names or were fake profiles. In order to activate their account the user had to provide a government issued ID or secondary forms of identification. This is a big issue for those who would like to remain anonymous from Facebook, have a fake profile and cannot provide the documentation, or would prefer to keep their alternate name for security purposes. In the Facebook classes offered by Juliet Bravo Solutions, the first step to personal Facebook security is using a pseudo name for the member, spouse, and other immediate family that could easily be linked to the law enforcement official. The fear of Facebook suspending one’s account is a great concern for those requiring some anonymity.

Facebook falls back on their terms of service when it comes to requiring the use of real names or deleting fake accounts. Violating either gives them the legal right as we blindly accept the terms of service when registering. As this has been an issue since December 2015 and there still isn’t an official remedy to the problem; users must either submit documents or allow their account to become deactivated.

An astute reader from a northeast law enforcement agency shared his recent experiences with me regarding Facebook suspending his account. Despite being targeted by a domestic terrorist group and working for a law enforcement agency, Facebook still required him to use his real name. However, he was able to keep his pseudo name when he procured documents with that name. I’ve spoken with another colleague whose fake Facebook account was suspended and then deactivated. Unfortunately, he didn’t have documentation and the six months of work building a profile disappeared.

What are some ways to protect your personal profile from being suspended? For an individual utilizing a pseudo name on Facebook, ensure the name is something that wouldn’t be picked up by Facebook’s automated robots. Common Anglo-Saxon first and last names typically avoid these systems. If your profile is reported by someone, there is still a possibility you can keep your pseudo name. Rather than submit a government ID,

one can use alternate methods of ID. Facebook will accept; utility bills, regular mail your name, transit cards, credit cards, a library card, school records, bank statements, yearbook photo, magazine subscription tab, or a membership ID. An individual with even basic photo editing skills could easily transform one of these documents to match their pseudo name.

In addition to utilizing a pseudo name, there are other privacy considerations to consider on Facebook to protect you and your family. Ensure your profile is private and review settings quarterly as Facebook changes the settings when introducing new features. Review what posts containing you are public, as one cannot expect all of your friends to have the same security. If you change your profile/cover picture frequently, ensure you limit past posts as profile picture changes are public postings. If you or your mother utilize your maiden name in your Facebook profile, omit this critical information.

As shown recently at a seminar, I had the ability to access a law enforcement officials personal Gmail account as I found her mother’s maiden name in fifteen minutes on Facebook. With the Gmail account compromised I could easily have obtained access to other social media and banking accounts. Stealing children identities is also a threat, and obtaining the child’s mother’s maiden name on Facebook isn’t difficult these days. Social Security numbers can easily be obtained from Dark Market sites, thus hiding one’s maiden name is paramount to attempting to protect your identity. Lastly, disable to ability for someone to look you up via phone number or email in Facebook search.

Personal Security on Facebook is of upmost importance these days when law enforcement officials are being maliciously targeted. Juliet Bravo Solutions offers numerous techniques in the social media classes offered. Schedule your training today!

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