Social media scams misuse media personalities images | radioinfo

Social media scams misuse media personalities images

Wednesday 15 May, 2019

While researching another article about Facebook, I was prompted to click on some brazen scam ads featuring Aussie radio and tv personalities.
 
I had been seeing similar ads for a while but had ignored them, however, to test whether Facebook was serious about its new approach to scams and privacy I clinked through on a few of them to find out where they went.
 
What purported to be ads for holiday locations and recipes all went to a fake ABC News site extolling the virtues of bitcoin.
 
Other articles featuring personalities such as Karl Stefanovic and Waleed Aly and emblazoned with fake logos for The Project, Sunrise or ABC News promised quick riches and also linked to the fake ABC News bitcoin articles.
 
In one article, Millionaire Andrew Forest is supposed to have opened his currency trading app during an interview on The Project and shown off his bitcoin trading secrets, after which Waleed Aly is supposed to have said he will also use the app to invest.

It’s all a scam of course, but it is a moderately well written article in a news reporting style, with reasonably credible graphics that could have been taken from a tv screen shot.

An ABC spokesperson told me:

The ABC is aware of the scam promoted on Facebook using links to fake ABC news stories. 

ABC Legal has informed Facebook of the advertisements and requested they be taken down. 

The ABC posted a statement on its corporate site on 10 April (https://about.abc.net.au/statements/alert-to-fake-news-articles/) warning of the scam and has also posted a link to the statement on its ABC NEWS Facebook page. 

Unfortunately, as soon as one fake news article or one Facebook advertisement is deleted, a new one is created.  Facebook is aware of this situation.

I reported several of these scam ads to facebook and am still waiting to see if they do anything about them.
 
Just because they are now removed from my feed after I reported them as spam doesn’t mean that they are gone altogether, they may still be turning up in other people’s feeds, even though they are now blocked from mine.
 
These scams worry me for several reasons. They can trick gullible people into losing money, they devalue the reputations of media people who have spent years building up their credibility and professionalism, and they take advertising from responsible media outlets.
 
The continuing prevalence of these scams shows that social media is still not taking enough action to stop scammers, despite the motherhood statements about building safe platforms.
 
Responsible media have spent years building good reputations for their presenters and developing safe platforms for advertisers, but social media scammers are misusing the trusted brands for their own ends.
 
There are always some bad people out there trying to trick others, you can’t stop that. But what can be stopped is the ability of these scammers to push their lies via popular platforms. Facebook and the other social media platforms need to do more.
 
This was my experience.
 
Scrolling through my feed I spotted a sponsored post featuring Waleed Aly. I also noticed Andrew Forest.
 

 
Clicked through on the link which took me to a page branded with the ABC logo and claiming to be an ABC news page. It was hosted on a website called Romanlink.
 

 
I flagged the ad by dropping down the menu under the three dots in the top right of the post and flagged it as spam/misrepresentation.
 

 

That was a few days ago. When I checked notifications (here is where to check it on FB, it is hard to find) I saw that the ads were under review, with a polite but non-committal message from Facebook.
 
ABC Media Watch did a report on these scams recently, but even that hasn't stopped them.

This is not just worrying from an ethical and business viewpoint, it is a real threat to the credibility of your own radio station pages. These ads might be turning up in your page, causing your readers to think that they are endorsed by your station.

It is a good idea to regularly look at your pages like your visitors do by dropping down the three dots in your profile menu and then turning on the 'View Page As Visitor' function. See the screen shot below illustrating how to do it.
 

 
Whether it is regulation, self regulation, better responsiveness, proactive monitoring or something else, lasting solutions need to be found to the problems of fakes and scams on social media platforms.

 

 

About the Author
 

Steve is the founding editor of this website.

He is a former broadcaster, programmer, senior executive and trainer who now runs his own company Ahern Media & Training Pty Ltd.

He is a regular writer and speaker about trends in media. More info here.

 

   
 
 

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