Legendary wildlife documentary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is suing the owners of several Facebook and Twitter accounts claiming to be him. The TV presenter insists the accounts do not belong to him and has been forced to take legal action to get them shut down.
Some of the sites are of an obscene nature and have been posting rude messages pertaining to be from Sir David, despite him publicly stating he does not use social media. He is particularly dismayed that one account has been sending lewd messages to people and has instructed his lawyers to force the sites to shut down to protect his reputation.
Sir David is not the only celebrity to fall victim to false social media accounts. Actor Ewan McGregor had an account set up in his name that attracted over 20,000 followers and posted daily accounts of his eating habits and what films he was involved in shooting before being closed down. Barak Obama, HRH the Queen and many well-known companies have had fake accounts set up in their name. A lot are obvious spoofs and can be quite amusing. Others, like Sir David Attenborough’s, are more malicious and designed to cause harm.
You can tell if accounts are genuine on Twitter now as they will have a blue tick attached to them on the owner’s profile. This signals the account has been verified by Twitter. Accounts that are linked to official websites and are involved in proper engagement with its followers are more likely to be verified by Twitter and considered genuine. The blue tick system was set up to protect celebrities and well-known brands as these experienced lots of imitators but anyone can now ask Twitter to verify their account.
If you want to engage with a business or individual on social media, make sure it’s the genuine party you’re dealing with. Twitter and Facebook can present great opportunities for business if it’s done properly. The first step is to follow the right account and not get caught out by imitators.
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