You may have been there: you see a Facebook friend posting a warning not to accept a “friend” request from a fake account bearing their name and photo – it’s a trick, that person isn’t really your friend. While you might still see that cautionary message in the future, Facebook is now taking steps to weed out accounts impersonating others.
Facebook says it is working on a new tool that will automatically alert users when it detects someone else is impersonating their account, Mashable reports.
If Facebook detects a duplicate account, it will automatically send an alert to the original account owner. That person will then be prompted to identify if the profile in question is indeed a fake or if it truly belongs to someone else.
Mashable reports that while the notification process is automated, flagged profiles will be reviewed by Facebook employees.
The social network says the new feature, which it started testing in November and now covers about 75% of accounts, was created as a way to curb harassment on the site.
The topic was discussed heavily during Facebook-hosted roundtables on privacy and safety that were recently held with users from around the world.
“We heard feedback prior to the roundtables and also at the roundtables that this was a point of concern for women,” Antigone Davis, Facebook Head of Global Safety, tells Mashable. “And it’s a real point of concern for some women in certain regions of the world where it [impersonation] may have certain cultural or social ramifications.”
The impersonation identification tool is just one part of the company’s mission to eradicate harassment on the site. It is also working on ways for users to report nonconsensual intimate images and a photo checkup feature.
Davis tells Mashable that initial testing of the more robust reporting processes — which provides resources for those who have been harassed — have gone well, but there are no plans make them widely available just yet.