There are definately a lot of fake Facebook profiles out there. Numbers released from Facebook themself suggests that 83 million facebook accounts are fake – that’s more than the total number of people living in France and the Netherlands combined! An estimated 5-6% of all Facebook accounts are fake. Fake autogenerated profiles offer the creators of those the possibility of spamming your wall with weird content and also bloat the number of fans for certain pages.
There are some studies of fake Facebook profiles that indicate that fake profiles have a higher average number of friends and most often identify themselves as females. For identifying whether a specific profile is fake these studies however only offer vague clues.
So how to spot a fake Facebook profile?
Looking at a company Facebook page the other day I noticed an unnatural high number of fans for that type of company but strangely very low fan activity on the same Facebook page. Very few likes and no comments made it a bit of a strange case. I did find a few Likes though and decided to have a closer look at those profiles. I came up with the following little trick which also will introduce you to a great and not that well-known feature of Google. Here goes:
1. Locate the Profile image of the Facebook profile you want to check. For this little test let’s use the SPAMfighter Aim logo present on the SPAMfighter Facebook page.
2. Right-click on the image and save it somewhere where you easily can find it again! The Windows desktop would be a great place!
3. Now enter Google Image Search. Google Image Search is a great tool where you can search for images based on other images. I would suggest using Google Chrome or Firefox as Browser here. For some reason it does not seem to work for Internet Explorer 9.
4. Drag the recently saved file from your desktop til the search field. It is a little nifty but you will probably work it out!
5. Now Google Image Search will check where the image is present on Facebook profiles and a lot of other places on the Internet.
If we for a moment return to my original fake profile my search using the above method actually produced a lot of Facebook profiles having the same profile image. See below. My best guess is that most of those Facebook profiles are fake!
Are anyone stealing your Facebook profile image?
A nice little test would of cource be to test whether any fake Facebook profiles use your profile image? Using the test above it is pretty easy to reveal. So locate your own Facebook page, save the profile image you use and do the Google image search. If you notice your profile image present on other profiles I suggest you report it to Facebook using this link.