Sat, Nov 17, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Facebook’s ‘false faces’ seriously undermine its credibility

With fakery found all over the Internet, the social network says it is stepping up efforts to weed out false profiles and fake ‘likes’ from its site

By Somini Sengupta  /  NY Times News Service, SAN FRANCISCO

A spokesman for the group, Chip White, said this week that he had nothing more to add. Facebook declined to comment on the contretemps.

The research firm Gartner estimates that while less than 4 percent of all social media interactions are false today, that figure could rise to more than 10 percent by 2014. The temptations are too great as brands compete for popularity, Gartner said.

The ubiquity of Facebook, some users say, compels them to be, well, a little bit fake. Colleen Callahan is among them. She was a senior in college when she started getting slightly nervous about the pictures that a prospective employer might find on Facebook. Like most of her college friends, she said, there was a preponderance of party pictures.

“It would be OK if people saw it, but I didn’t want people to interpret it differently,” she said.

So Callahan tweaked her profile. She became Colleen Skisalot.

(“I am a big skier,” she explained.)

None of her friends snitched.

Facebook didn’t ask for any verification of her new name. It stuck. She still hasn’t changed it, though she is no longer afraid of what prospective employers might think. She has a job — with an advertising agency in Boston, some of whose clients, it turns out, advertise on Facebook.

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