Who are these you may ask? Well, they’re fake Facebook profiles. Trolls, or as I like to call them, Fakeroos. People who create a fake Facebook profile with the express intent of either bullying or trolling Facebook groups and pages with their particular brand of hatred and vitriol.
Yes, there are fake profiles who don’t troll and don’t bully. I know a few of them. People who for some inexplicable reason don’t want their real names out there. Weird but okay, I can accept that. I’m even friends with a few.
How? Well, that part is easy. All you need is an e-mail address. When I first registered for Facebook I had to provide my identitiy number because Facebook at that stage recognized my name as a ‘celebrity’ (what with me being a ‘Diesel’ and all) and I had to verify my name with my ID number. Now it’s much simpler.
Create an e-mail address with one of the many free e-mail sites available, log onto Facebook, register a new account. Google a fake picture and Bob’s your uncle! Literally. You could create a second account, call it ‘Bob’ and claim the profile as an uncle under the ‘Family’ Tab. But I digress, the ‘How’ is easy. Not so simple is the ‘Why’.
One reason is to eavesdrop. If you’ve had a fall-out with a friend and they’ve blocked you and you know that they’re skinnering about you behind your back. Create a fake profile and make friends with them to see what they’re saying about the REAL you.
Pros: You learn who your real friends are and you know what people really think of you
Cons: You lose friends and you know what people REALLY think of you.
Yes, I admit. I have tried this and yes, it backfired horribly. I don’t recommend it.
The second reason is to troll. Let’s say you’re a racist, a sexist or some-one who really, really hates spinach. Log onto any news site or the “We love Spinach” page and post your negative views without the harm of anyone knowing who the real you is.
Pros: You can vent all the hatred you want without anyone judging YOU for it.
Cons: These views can spill over into your real profile, giving you away.
No, I have not tried this. I don’t hate anyone or anything enough.
Spotting a fake is easy. They have one photo, which is probably very easily googled. Take the third example, Rentia Potgieter. Google ‘woman with shot-gun’ and there she is, large as life and twice as ugly. One picture. No others. No family. No real friends. You know, the kind who post on your wall and wish you for your birthday and post game invitations. Fakes usually have very few fb friends, mostly under 50.
There are those who have been around for a while and have amassed huge friends lists but they’re still easy to spot because there is no real activity on the profile and no family. Or the profile is closed and the profile pic is blank, or a profile pic that does not feature an actual person. Easier to spot still are the open profiles who were started, oh, a week ago? Really? You discovered FB last week? Go you.
We all know trolls, we see them daily on Facebook pages and groups. Those who post their vitriol and special brand of hatred all over the threads, causing arguments and hostility all round, generally making it unpleasant for every one.
There are those who are racist and sexist enough to be scary to be around. Most pages have admin who delete and block trolls. Others (Yes, news24, I mean you) seem to revel in them and even appear to encourage them.
My opinion. Ignore. Trolls are attention-whores and if you ignore them they do (eventually) go away. Personally, I don’t get it. If you’re not brave enough to post your opinion using your real name then it’s not much of an opinion.
The same can be said for the articles written on mynews24. Notwithstanding the people with a pseudonym to protect sources or whistle-blowers who wish not to be identified, there are those who have created a fake Facebook profile with the express intent of writing articles. To what purpose? I say again, if your opinion is not worth saying under your real name, it’s not worth saying AT ALL.
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