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Fake Social Media Accounts Could Be Considered Illegal

BBC News
Since catfishing became a thing with a name we've all grown aware of the fact there are people out there who will pretend to be someone else. These people aren't pretending to be a character or someone who isn't real, these people are pretending to be someone real and they don't want other people to know that they're fake.

People pretend to be someone else for a variety of reasons. It could be to torment a person or to just because they think its fun to mess around with someone's life. If they're doing it because they have issues with who they are then that's something else that needs to be sorted out but when they're doing it to steal details, money or just to humiliate someone then it's something different. As it is these offences are likely to only be serious because only adults can have legal action brought against them in these cases. This is because kids aren't seen to be fully developed so it could just be a mistake.

An example of what they're trying to prevent is when someone puts up an account pretending to be the person they want to humiliate. They might post things that are out of character for them or are degrading in some way. If this is done it could cause unwanted details to slip out as well as cause anxiety and other issues that may be linked to mental health. It's a completely negative thing to do and not one anyone should be doing. Of course people can also make accounts for people who don't exist to dig information or money out of a person and that can be just as humiliating. Last year many fake LinkedIn accounts were discovered using stock pictures and other people's information to get email addresses, details and things that could allow people to steal more than your identity. Because these accounts would claim to be recruiters and would make links with real organisations and things, people would believe they were what they said they were. A reverse image search could have easily been done and could be for any fake profiles but it's not something you think to do every time you meet someone new. It's also worth mentioning that it is against the rules to make a fake Facebook account so the men and women who create Facebook accounts are clearly doing their best to seem real and this could make them harder to catch. People who commit these crimes think they won't get caught even with things like a reverse image search as they can usually come up with some sort of excuse. These people are essentially con men and women, people who are used to tricking others and are very good at convincing others to believe in them.

At the moment the Crown Prosecution Service are categorising the different crimes under three branches that connect to existing laws that would allow the courts to charge them. These are; when the online activity results in a credible threat, when someone is specifically targeted for revenge porn, coercive behaviour, stalking etc and when cases result in a breach of a court order. These crimes are essentially being considered a general harassment and following on from the fact revenge porn was made illegal, this was the logical next step.

The courts will have to be careful to be sure that people are not getting upset over something that was just 'banter' or an unpopular opinion though. More sensitive people can get upset by things that wouldn't upset other people and though this can make them more susceptible to others who might catfish them, it does mean you have to be careful when you're looking into their case.

Hopefully this should mean there is less harassment online and fewer people pretending to be someone they're not. If you want to upset someone then using someone else's face to do it is just as cowardly as doing it anonymously. This change in the law aims to stop people from doing so and, with a little luck, prompt people to be more careful when it comes to meeting people online.



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Fake Social Media Accounts Could Be Considered Illegal Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Thursday, March 03, 2016 Rating: 5

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