At this time of year – with the return to school and university – people are making new connections all over the place. As it sometimes takes time to really get to know people, especially as we are moving towards a world that is increasingly mediated by screens, it can be hard to know for sure who we are speaking to.
Sometimes people use social media to bully or harass others. Other times they use it to troll or to mislead people with fake news. It is unusual, but it can happen, and when it does, it helps to know the signs that a Facebook or other social media account is fake.
The first piece of golden advice is to not accept friendship requests from people you do not know. In large online groups, this can be easier said than done though, as you can feel that you do “know” someone even if you have never met them.
Secondly, check their photo. It is possible to use Google image search to search for where the photo has been used elsewhere. Do the same with their name. Checking their ‘friends’ list is another way to check the authenticity of an online profile.
Of course, if you really want to get to the bottom of who you are friends with online, you can trace their Internet Protocol (IP) address and use this information to identify their geographic location: finding out if they really are who they say they are. If you want to learn more about how to do this, why not download our ‘How to Trace a Fake Facebook Account’ course?
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