Reporting Fake Social Media Accounts: What You Should Know

Sadly, as with any other anonymous technology, social media has the potential to be abused by fake social media accounts claiming to be something they’re not. What happens if that ‘something’ is your carefully built brand, however? If you’ve discovered people or businesses spoofing your online presence, there’s luckily steps you can take to have them removed. Today the Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency will walk you through the basics of reporting fake social media marketing accounts on popular platforms, and other key steps you should take. 

Why Should I Care?

Can these impersonators actually hurt your brand? Yes- and in a number of ways. From tanking brand sentiment about your business through bad behaviour, right through to selling spoof or low-quality products ‘in your name’ and destroying your carefully-built reputation, imposters can be a big deal indeed. A key cornerstone of improved ROI through social media marketing is ensuring you appear trustworthy, responsive, and appealing. We would suggest a monthly review to ensure your ‘brand safety’, but larger organisations may want to step that up to weekly. You should likely check social media platforms you do not have an active presence on, as well, so you aren’t taking a brand reputation hit without realising it. Luckily, all the social networks offer you recourse to report fake accounts- and here’s how.

Reporting Fake Social Business Accounts

While the interface will look a bit different depending on the social media platform in question, the process works the same way for all of them.

  • Locate the fraudulent account: Using the native search tools, check for your business name and any similar variants, mascot names you may have, and so on. You may even want to check for the names of prominent high-profile team members in case of spoofs.
  • Find their report page: This will typically be accessed directly from the fraudulent page via a menu option (look out for the classic three dots). The link you’re looking for will typically be under a term such as ‘report’ or ‘find support’. 
  • Use the on-platform function: Again, terminology can vary from platform to platform, but typically you are looking for phrases like ‘Scams and Fake pages’ (FaceBook)
  • Reason: If you need to report a reason, look for terms relevant to the breach. FaceBook, for example, has ‘pretending to be another business’. 

Then simply finish the on-screen instructions to finalise the report. Usually you will need to give a link back to the real brand page or similar profile. Most platforms will allow you to track the status of the report through their help/support link. 

It’s worth noting that platforms in the Meta brand (most notably Instagram and Facebook) offer a suite of IP protection tools for high profile brands to make the process easier, allowing you to report and track across all platforms. You would need to set this up from your Business Manager account.

LinkedIn is a little special, as it has no dedicated reporting tool. So you can instead report abuse from the organisation’s CTA, or Call To Action, button. While most social media platforms will allow you to report without an account, platforms under the Alphabet/Google brand (notably YouTube) will require you to have a Google account to do so. It doesn’t have to be for the brand, however. YouTube does allow you to prevent re-uploads through the ‘Copyright Tracking’ option.

Loss of control of your IP is a risk of using digital marketing platforms. However, with some dedicated action on your side to manage your brand reputation, and smart use of the on-platform tools, you can report imposters and fake profiles easily. Managing this critical side of online marketing is just one of the many services on offer from Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency, too, so don’t be afraid to reach out to us today.