When You’re Not You on Facebook

Confused?

Well, so was I when I received a message from a friend with a link to a Facebook profile, asking if this profile was me. Curious, I clicked the link, only to be told the link wasn’t valid.  I shrugged, wrote back to my friend telling her the link didn’t work, and put it out of my mind… until my friend wrote back saying the link did still work and it opened a Talli Roland profile — complete with one of my book covers as the profile picture and with many of my friends. The reason the link didn’t work for me when logged into my ‘real’ profile? I’d been blocked.

Yikes! Who would take the time to set up a profile under my name, steal my profile pic and friend my friends, then block the real me from seeing that profile? The mind boggles, but it turns out I’m not alone. Once I posted on Facebook about the fake Talli Roland profile, several other writers came forward to say the same thing had happened to them. In one instance, the ‘fake’ author had even been answering emails from readers! In another, the faker was contacting friends via messenger for goodness knows what reason. Bianca Bosker at the Huffington Post had a truly bizarre experience with her fake Facebooker, too.

So, what to do if you happen upon someone impersonating you on Facebook? The best strategy is to report the profile through the button on the top right-hand corner of their profile. That gets tricky, though, when you’ve been blocked from seeing the faker!  Once I discovered I’d been impersonated, I asked all my friends to report the profile, and within a couple days, it was removed.

Social media is a fantastic way for writers to connect with other writers as well as readers, but it does leave us open to a whole raft of other issues. Be vigilant, be careful about the information you share, and act quickly if one of your accounts is violated.

Have you been impersonated on Facebook or experienced issues with social media?

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Comments

  1. I found the whole thing bizarre! As awesome as I’m sure it is to be you, it’s hard to understand why someone would go to the trouble of impersonating you. I suppose this just means you’ve made it as a celeb! XD

    So glad Facebook was helpful in getting the situation sorted out.

    • Talli Roland says:

      It is bizarre – thank goodness you came across the profile, or I’d never have known!

  2. You know you’ve made it when you gain your own doppelganger!

    • Sibel Hodge says:

      What’s that all about?

      • Sibel Hodge says:

        Oops, sorry, computer went funny then and posted it before I was finished! Maybe having your own doppelganger is the best form of flattery! :)

        What’s that all about, though. I mean, what did they hope to gain by it? It’s just bizarre! Glad you got it sorted out. :)

        • Talli Roland says:

          Sibel, I’ve no idea what someone might hope to gain from it. It truly is strange, but even weirder is that I’m not the only one it’s happened to!

    • Talli Roland says:

      Haha – I wish, David! :)

  3. Lois Lavrisa says:

    Yikes one more thing to watch and be aware of as an author: )I am so glad that yours was taken care of:)

  4. carol hedges says:

    Not happened to me yet…touches wood*. BUT I did read of a case where a writer downloaded an entire book from Smashwords, then resubmitted it as theirs. Original writer had to work hard to stop them.
    *let’s face it, who’d want to be me! Even I struggle with the concept!

  5. I wonder what someone gets out of doing it. So strange. Glad you found out, Talli!

  6. Glad you got it straightened out, Talli. This hasn’t happened (yet) to me, but it did happen to someone I work with. I don’t think anybody would want to be me either.

    • Talli Roland says:

      It’s bizarre (my new favourite word) how many people it’s happened to!

  7. Angela Brown says:

    As of yet, that hasn’t happened to me on Facebook. But I’ve been hacked on Twitter before and had my profile sending awful Direct Messages to my followers, which unnerved me to the point of almost leaving Twitter completely. But I didn’t.

    I can see that as a very bothersome thing, being played by some faker. Especially when they are responding to e-mails as you? Geez!!!

    • Talli Roland says:

      Hacking is just as annoying! How awful, but I’m glad you didn’t let it drive you off Twitter.

  8. Whoa! My mind boggles at the thought of someone doing that. I mean, fans create pages (and sites) to honor the celebrities they love, but to set up a profile/page and actually impersonate that person? Isn’t that against the law?

  9. SK Holmesley says:

    I’m on FB under a fictitious name. FB doesn’t condone that nowadays, but I set up my FB account way back when at the insistence of family members and that was all I would agree to. My real name does have an account, but it’s someone else’s name too. I go over to her page occasionally. She’s Canadian and seems really nice. Mostly, I only check because I know if potential employers look (and they do), they’ll find her. I’m on LinkedIn, she’s on FB. But we’re so different, I assume employers won’t be confused and will realize that it’s two different people. I’m just glad she’s a really nice person.

    But Talli doesn’t seem like a very common name, so it would definitely be a concern, since you couldn’t really explain it away, particularly when they are intent on pretending to be you. That’s scary.

    • Talli Roland says:

      It is scary, SK! Especially the fact they’d friended my friends and blocked me from seeing them. Definitely acting with intent.

      It’s my experience most Canadians are nice… :)

  10. Wow. This did happen to me…now I’ve gotta see if somebody stole MY profile too. Yikes.

  11. Pat Gragg says:

    I had a weird experience on Amazon when there were two of me for awhile.

  12. Dana Delamar says:

    Interesting! I just checked on FB and there are now two Dana Delamar’s that aren’t me (there weren’t any before when I set up my account a year or two ago). They don’t have my picture though and aren’t pretending to be me, so I’m not concerned. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Talli Roland says:

      Dana, as long as they’re not pretending to be you, that’s good! It’s bizarre when they are.

  13. Wow. Credit to the creators for thinking to block you. Scary, though, because had you not been alerted to it by your friend, you never would have known.

  14. deniz says:

    Wow. I had not heard of this before. Kind of scary. I’ll bet it helps a lot when the real author is friendly and open and honest – like you! – and has friends who care enough to report these things.