When identity thieves targeted beloved open courseware teachers, Facebook sided with the crooks, and Facebook helped the con artists get away with it

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“Catfished” (the process of having your online identity hijacked)

This is not what I was under the impression “catfishing” meant.

If you’re catfished, isn’t someone else trying to convince you of their (false) identity?


This sounds remarkably similar to the recent reports about Facebook’s…ethically flexible…methods to reach their current ‘unique video views’ numbers.

It’s often the smaller, wannabe, ‘aggregators’ that are the most aggressive(since they have little to lose and nowhere to go but up); but it sure looks like Facebook has stopped even pretending to care; so long as whatever is hijacked ends up within their precious walled garden.

It’s hard to decide whether watching facebook is more like observing a parasite at work, or a malignancy metastasizing.


I feel like it can both? The catfish has to steal an identity in the first place with which to be fraudulent…
So there’s victims on both sides… the person whose identity is stolen and the person who is lied to about who the person is.


This just sounds like identify theft to me.

A crook can do plenty of things with a stolen identity: retail scams, insurance fraud, … or catfishing.


Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

But also…

When actual EVIL rears it’s head, don’t hesitate to call it out.


This is no new surprise, FaceBook is pure mental online poison.


Back in the olden days of the internet I was on this side of a catfish. A woman stole my photos and pretended to be me in various chatrooms and forums. Some dudes gave her money or gifts, and a couple even came to visit her and she’d stand them up at the bus station or whatever. Various friends would see what they thought to be me online acting out of character and they’d say something to me and then we’d figure out what had happened, and we’d contact whomever to nuke the accounts and files, etc. It was weird and creepy and gross. But definitely a catfish.


Is there any financial penalty if Facebook gets this wrong? Any cost at all?


That’s strange, because you look like a… uhm… dachshund…


I’m sorry, but after reading this, I am still confused – what is the point of this post?

I see that two guys (Alec Couros and Alan Levine) are victims of identity theft. And that they are both open courseware teachers. And Facebook is being stupid about restoring their accounts. Okay.

So what is unique or interesting about this? Does this somehow differ from any random internet user suffering from identity theft?

I swear I am not trolling, I seriously do not get the significance of this post.

Would you say you’re disappointed in this post?


I’m more disappointed in everyone with a mental age over eleven who continues to use Facebook.


Alan is blogging right now - you can go read how how the scammers and Facebook are kicking his ass.

Where? Where can I read this? I couldn’t find any link to the blog itself.

My initial response to every one of these “Facebook is evil” posts is the same: don’t use Facebook.

I mean, I get that the whole point of social networking is to use people’s personal relationships as a weapon against them to force you to use the system against your will, so people feel they have no choice.

But this isn’t something you can solve. You can’t make Facebook not be evil by making angry blog posts about it and then linking the posts to your friends… On Facebook. You’re a product. Your presence is money. They’ll never care about you.

So basically, my only real response is boredom. Don’t use Facebook.


… I’m on the all. even tsu and G+

I am social, what can I say. :slight_smile:


I would also add that this post seemed, to me, like it got cut off… it just… stopped… I was expecting there to be more to it.


Yep. I bailed on Facebook when someone:

  1. Impersonated my wife (to solicit her friends for Nigerian lottery
  2. Using pictures of our kids.
  3. Was reported to FB.
  4. FB found no problems with this.

My wife ranted about this in a post, and some friends of ours in Silicon Valley called their friends AT FACEBOOK and got that account nuked. Facebook makes money by having accounts folks. Anything they can do to maximize the number of accounts, fake or not, is good for their bottom line. Making sure someone doesn’t use your children’s pictures in scammy attempts at defrauding folks—eh, they’ll get to that later maybe.


But you have to admit, pretty flattering too.

People would be more likely to steal my photographs to make hallowe’en costumes and scare their children. :smile:

Not much of a silver lining, I guess, for either of us!


My daughter is a fashion designer. She had an entire collection of her work stolen, along with her FB identity. The thieves are now in another country selling her work and using her brand name on FB. FB refused to even acknowledge her when she tried to report them. Not once did they respond to any of her attempts to contact them or use their reporting tools.