For the second time in a year, someone has used my pictures to create a fake account on Facebook. I usually don't get bothered by these things - I just make sure that it all gets deleted - but this time, he / she also used pictures of my family and I; which is just too much for me to handle. I'm not sure if using someone else's pictures counts as identity theft, but it definitely felt like that for me. That's why I decided to write this blogpost: to share my stories with you and how I dealt with it. Please note that this has only happened to me on Facebook, so I'm not familiar with this on other social media channels.
The first time this happened, I was sitting in a pub, watching the soccer World Cup and just minding my own business, when someone tweeted me: "Isn't this you?". At first, I thought that it might be some kind of virus, but something told me that I had to open the link this girl sent me and there it was: a profile with my pictures, but with another name (which I forgot). To be honest, I really thought that it was some practical joke or something. It soon became clear that it wasn't and I shared the fake account on my timeline and just asked everyone to report it. It worked and after a couple of hours the account was deleted. I think it's needless to say that the whole ordeal kinda ruined my night. I didn't get the chance to see the game because I was obsessively checking my Facebook account and the fake one every 2 minutes. Add a little bit of stressy behavior and you can imagine that I just wasn't fun company that night.
Two days ago, while celebrating my uncle's birthday, I got a private message on Shark Attack's Facebook page: "Hi! Someone obviously thinks that you're very interesting", accompanied with a link to another fake Facebook account with my pictures. A certain Amy Dekker (never heard of her, I'm not even sure if it's her real name and if it's a she or a he) thought it would be fun to steal my pictures and decorate her Facebook with them, as you can see in the picture above. I checked out her account and saw pictures of me in Paris, my tattoo and even a picture of my father and I. That last picture disturbed me the most. You want to steal my pictures? Fine (or actually no, it isn't fine), but don't drag my family or friends into this. This person blocked me from sending her a private message and when the person that informed me about the fake account messaged her and told her it were my pictures, he / she blocked him as well. So, what to do? Again, I shared the account on my timeline and asked everyone to report it. Tons of my family and friends did (thank you for that, I love you all) and then I finally received a message from the Helpdesk, stating that Facebook made a decision about the complaint.
They said that they couldn't delete the account because "it didn't violate Facebook's terms and conditions about identity and privacy". It really was a What The Fuck-moment, let me tell ya. Since Facebook wouldn't help me, I decided to do something about it myself. I scanned the fake account again and I could see that my pictures would have a couple of likes and comments. Since I couldn't PM the creator of the fake account, I decided to PM the people who liked and commented. Most of them were boys and I never got a reply back. I then saw a girl that commented '<3' on a picture of me standing in front of the Eiffel tower, so I decided to send her a friendship request. And guess what? She accepted. I checked her account and I saw that 'Amy' tagged her in various statuses, saying "I had such a fun night with you" and "You're my best friend, I love you". So, I PM'ed this girl and asked her very friendly if she knew this 'Amy' personally, since she was using my pictures as her own. I could see that the girl read my message, but she decided to ignore me and to defriend me. I was fed up with this situation so I PM'ed her again - not so friendly this time - and said that she should tell her little 'Amy' friend that I was giving her until noon the next day to delete all of the pictures or that I would take further measures that they both would not like. Five minutes later, the pictures were gone.
People come up to me and say: "Well, you do have a blog and stuff, so it's only natural that people are going to take your pictures." No, it's not. These are my pictures from my life and I should not be okay with this, just because I have a blog. If people repost my pictures and tag me in it because they like it or use it as some kind of inspiration or something: fine by me. Repost as much as you want. But stealing my pictures to create a fake account is a whole other level. For all I know, this could be some creep or pedophile with the wrong intentions, using my pictures to do it.
Judging by the pictures that 'Amy' used on her account, she's a visitor of my blog. So 'Amy', if you read this: not cool, girl, not cool. Read the paragraph above a couple of times and I hope you understand why I eventually had to contact one of your friends to get to you. And if you want to steal my pictures, please steal some more flattering ones.
Sorry for the major rant on here, but I just had to get it off my chest. I'm kind of disappointed in the Facebook 'Helpdesk' but I'm glad that I took matters into my own hands and that it's all over (for) now. Have you ever experiences something similar on social media? And did their Helpdesk help you? Share your story in the comments below, I'd love to hear them and how you solved it all.