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Reporting impersonation on social media

Image of Reporting impersonation on social media

by Rebecca Cawthorne

18 October 2016

As Communications Assistant at Childnet, one of the three charities in the UK Safer Internet Centre, Rebecca writes blogs and coordinates social media activity for the UKSIC. 

We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about reporting fake profiles for three of the most popular social media sites; Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We hope this will help you if you should ever need to make a report.

Instagram

What can I do if someone is impersonating me on Instagram?

If someone has created an Instagram account pretending to be you, you can make a report directly to Instagram. Reports can either be made from within the app or by filling out this form. The form requires you to provide an official photo- ID such as your driving licence or a valid passport in order to prove your identity.

What can I do if someone I know is being impersonated on Instagram?

If the impostor account is impersonating someone you're authorized to represent (e.g. your child), you can report the account using this form.

In most cases the report has to be made from the profile of the person who's being impersonated, and you cannot do this on their behalf. It is recommended that you contact the person being impersonated and encourage them to report it to Instagram.

Facebook

What can I do if someone is impersonating me on Facebook?

Any accounts that impersonate other people aren't allowed on Facebook. If someone created an account pretending to be you:

  1. Go to the profile that's impersonating you (If you can't find it, try searching for the name used on the profile or asking your friends if they can send you a link to it.)
  2. Click the three dots on the cover photo and select Report
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation

How can I make a report if I don’t have a Facebook profile?

If you don’t have a Facebook profile but want to report and account that is impersonating you or someone you know then you can fill out this form. You will need to provide your full name and contact email, and provide the URL link for the impostor profile. You will also need to provide some form of ID to confirm your identity.

What can I do if someone I know is being impersonated on Facebook?

Reports have to be made by the person who is being impersonated or their authorized representative (eg. parent or legal guardian). If you are not their authorised representative then it is important to encourage the person who is being impersonated to report the fake profile.

If the impostor account is impersonating someone you're authorized to represent (e.g. your child), you can report the account using this form.

Twitter            

What can I do if someone is impersonating me on Twitter?

Twitter has a complicated policy in regards to impersonation, as parody accounts are allowed. In order for an account to comply with the impersonation policy at Twitter it must explicitly show that it is not affiliated with or connected to any similarly-named individuals.

However Twitter accounts portraying another person in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under the Twitter impersonation policy.

To report an account that is impersonating you  on Twitter then you can fill out this form.

What can I do if someone I know is being impersonated on Twitter?

You can report any impersonation profile that you believe breaks Twitter’s codes of conduct by filling out this form.

 

If you are dealing with impersonation issues involving young people on social media and you are a member of the children’s workforce (such as a teacher, social worker, doctor, police officer, coach, foster carer or youth worker) then you can also contact the Professionals Online Safety Helpline run by the UK Safer Internet Centre for advice and support.                                        

If you feel any of the content of the account has broken the law then it is important to contact the Police. Content that needs to be reported to the police includes death threats, malicious communications that might be racist, sexist or homophobic and credible threats of violence.

If a fake profile is being used to bully an individual it is important to report this to your child’s school.