How to detect a fake Facebook page. Photo: THIBAULT CAMUS/AP
DURBAN - Since news broke of the fake Black Lives Matter Facebook page earlier this week, Facebook users have been advised to educate themselves on how to detect a fake Facebook account.

CEO and co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the United States Congress this week, to answer questions around Facebook data safety, following a massive breach scandal.

Fake Facebook accounts which are created to essentially gain access to your personal information and data.

One of the main reasons for this is identity theft.

The creators of fake Facebook accounts can profit from accessing your personal information by taking out loans or credit cards in your name.

Or they can sell the data to other individuals engaged in identity theft.

Here are some ways that you can identify if a Facebook account is created by a bot:


Bots use pictures of beautiful people to get a person to accept a friend request

The fake page often has a picture of a very attractive girl or a handsome guy on their pages. Human beings tend to naturally draw towards attractive photos, such photos increase the likelihood of a friend request being accepted.

To ensure that a picture is real, Google Image search - if there are a lot of sites with that picture then you can assume that the account is fake.

Not many pictures:

Bots generally do not post a lot of pictures on their Facebook pages. Their main goal is to use the least amount of effort to create the idea that a real person is behind the Facebook page. So if a page is controlled by a bot, that Facebook page will not have too many pictures on the timeline.

Strange bio information:

If the information in the biography section is too fancy or unbelievable then it is more than likely that the Facebook account is fake.

No messaging on the account

Bots can accept friend requests but can not reply to messages. If you are not sure about an account then send a message to the account and see if they reply back to you.

Clean Facebook pages

Facebook timelines that don't have a lot of posts are likely to be a fake account.

Too many likes

Some accounts that are controlled by bots are set up to like a certain number of pages in a day, so be on the look-out.

Facebook advises that you take the following steps to report a suspected fake Facebook account.

1. View the profile of the fake account, if you can not find the account then try searching for the name or ask a friend to send it you as a link.
2. Click on the three little dots on the cover photo and then click Report.
3. Then follow the instructions to file a report.