Removing a cloned Facebook account
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How to remove a cloned official Facebook account
A cloned Facebook account could be extremely damaging and even dangerous. In a recent case, the Facebook account of an African head of state had been cloned by political activists who used to clone accounts on Facebook in order to post misleading messages to a confused, fragile nation.
A representative of a President from a well-established State in East Africa became aware of a fraudulent Page that was in circulation on the social media platform Facebook. The President had an existing official government Facebook Page with over 300,000 followers, of which was run by officials to make verified, true statements and comments. The fraudulent Facebook Page, however, was a clone of the official Facebook Page and it was created to give the impression that it belonged to the President himself.
Those operating the fake Facebook Page were posting misleading posts and comments and, by the time our firm became involved in the matter, had acquired in excess of 100,000 followers. The cloned Facebook Page included false statements, real and doctored images and true comments which had been taken from the genuine Facebook Page.
Those operating the cloned Facebook Page were responsible for posting highly controversial statements, allegedly on behalf of the President, and there were signs that those statements had been creating civil unrest in a country with a long history of civil wars. Unfortunately, the fraudulent Facebook page had misled people into believing it belonged to the President of the State and as a result had continued to amass followers on a daily basis.
This was a huge cause for concern for the President and his representatives as the fraudulent Facebook Page had been misusing images of the President and making untrue personal and extreme political statements and comments of which had little to no truth in them yet held dire consequences.
This cloned fraudulent Facebook Page was causing many problems for the President of the State. Firstly, he was a respected and admired individual who had a reputation that was held in high regard. The wrongful attribution of these comments and statements was thereby not only discrediting his image politically amongst other officials but by the people of his state who looked up to him.
Secondly, the false claims, statements and comments by the the cloned Facebook Page, in turn created political unrest as it started to result in public demonstrations which would have soon turned violent. The President and his government became subject to anger through hate comments and pages, negative press from the media and a general disdain from members of the wider public.
The repercussions of the cloned Facebook Page and the defamatory comments and suggestions had begun to add up. The President became alarmed as the situation had the potential of devastating the entire State due to what was in effect fake news and deceitful content.
The natural response to having a cloned Facebook Page, particularly an official one, is to report the Page to Facebook. Unfraternally, Facebook had been slow to respond to the reports. Astonishingly, Facebook had refused to delete the cloned Facebook Page.
The reason for this was unclear. It could have been that Facebook could not understand the urgency and the implications of having a cloned Facebook Page at a government level. At the same time, another possibility which could not have been excluded was that someone at Facebook was deliberately making it difficult for the President.
In circumstances where Facebook refuse to delete a cloned Facebook Page, there is often little alternative but to get lawyers involved and to consider taking legal action against Facebook. The President decided that there was sufficient urgency in the matter to warrant acquiring specialist legal advice and to consider legal action against Facebook. He contacted our law firm following recommendations.
It became apparent that the cloned Facebook Page had to be removed without delay and that the genuine Facebook Page had to receive a verified badge, which up until then was not considered at all by Facebook. Our specialist lawyers contacted Facebook directly and successfully brought the removal of the cloned Facebook Page within a day.
Subsequently, we successfully secured obtaining a verification badge from Facebook, a task which took a little bit longer to complete.