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Natalie Filipov

on 29 April 2013

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Fake Profiles by
Natalie Filipov, Kristen Kimball, Meghan Wall & Cecilia Volterra "Catfishing"
The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time). source: urbandictionary.com image source: http://www.webadvices.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Find-fake-Facebook-profile.jpg Catfishing Survey Kristen asked some fellow students to share their feelings about fake profiles.
These are the results. Does getting catfished concern you? Do you believe fake profiles on Facebook and Twitter are a big deal? Do you think fake profiles are more of a
problem on Facebook or Twitter? Do fake profiles say a lot about a person's identity? What does having a fake profile say about a person's identity? Popular responses included:
They are shallow
They don't care about other people's feelings
They are insecure about themselves
They are having an identity crisis and do not know who they are
They are desperate for friends and are using a fake profile as a last resort
They are bored with their lives
They are uncertain about their sexual identity
They crave attention at all times
Getting in Bed with Robin Sage
Thomas Ryan created blatantly false profiles for a made-up identity on several social networking sites under the name Robin Sage. A month later, "Robin" had hundreds of connections, including the Department of Defense, National Security Agency, Global Intelligence Groups and Global 500 Corporations
an experiment conducted by Thomas Ryan Sage was offered government and corporate jobs, asked to speak at security
conferences and to view papers and presentations

People trusted her because she was friends with their friends. "I've never met you, but I saw you had Marty on your Facebook list, so that was good enough for me.”

“An attractive young female appears to have exposed the role that sex and appearance plays in trust and people’s eagerness to connect with someone.” Could anyone have known Robin was fake? Probably. Though she appeared to be very social, Robin had few photos with other people on her profile.

Robin was a professional, but her pictures were extremely unprofessional.

The occupational title she listed on her profile does not exist.

She said that she had ten years of experience in her field, which suggests that she began her job when she was 15.

image source: http://www.privacywonk.net/images/robinsage.png How does this relate back to identity? image source: http://scm-l3.technorati.com/13/01/20/74555/identity.gif?t=20130120224326 How are individuals affected by creating fake profiles? The denial of their real identity can have a negative psychological impact that makes life stressful and unhappy.

Creating a fake profile requires a lot of effort. Since it requires inventing an identity, channeling that fake identity onto an online profile, and make that identity look real, it has the potential to consume a lot of an individual's free time.

Creating a fake profile can also be emotionally draining, since living two different lives affects individuals' interactions with their real lives.

Overview Catfishing presents several issues related to ethics, privacy and security.
Members of social networking sites are generally willing to accept Facebook profiles as legitimate, even in regards to people they have not met in person. This may be because they are not aware of the prevalence of fake profiles.
Both the creators and victims of fake profiles may experience psychological distress from the catfishing process.
Though the online profiles created by "catfish" are fake, they can have a real impact on their genuine identities.
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