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We’ve had a number of issues crop up this week where students (presumably) have created “anonymous” Facebook accounts or Twitter feeds that have served to foster and promote university rumors, gossip, anonymous confessions, and the like. Much of the content on these accounts is misogynistic, or focused on partying, alcohol, etc.
This is a tactic in which a student create a fake Facebook profile by using images and other information stolen from a targeted user’s real Facebook or Twitter profile. Using this stolen information, one create a profile that closely emulates the victim’s genuine profile. And the more profile material that the victim has set to ‘public’, the more detailed and believable the cloned account can appear.
Each time one of these accounts crops up, our Student Leaders folks have turned to K.U – Comrades Forum to ask what we can do to find out who’s behind the account, and/or shut them down. To my knowledge, there’s not much we can do about them.
You’re also asking for “best practices” — what other sites are doing to monitor, manage, control, and/or shut down these types of accounts. So, I’m turning to you all — are you seeing these types of account at your institution, and if so, how are you dealing with them?
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To protect yourself from becoming a victim, ensure that you use privacy settings that guard as much of your information as possible from strangers. If you find that your Facebook account has been hacked or stolen, you should report the fake account to Facebook or Twitter. You should also let all of your friends know about the hacking attempt so that they will not be caught out by fake friend requests.
Finally, whatever you do regarding social networking platform, make sure that you follow your Acceptable K.U – Comrades Forum Social Policy and any other institutional policies that may be pertinent. “Platform” refers to the online forum, mechanism or tool through which users participate. Facebook is an example of social networking platform, and You Tube is an example of a video sharing platform.
This might be a good time to review those policies to determine if they need any revisions in light of the current situation. Social Media has the potential to build or destroy personalities and individuals. And, of course, as the site warning advises, be very cautious of any friend requests from people that you are already friends with. Victims target students, staff and outsiders.
Outlets within social media include but are not limited to online social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp groups, Blogs, Podcasts, Discussion forums, RSSR feeds, Video sharing such as You Tube, interactive Geolocation, and online collaborative information and publishing systems that are accessible to internal and external audience (i.e. Wikis).
Meanwhile, did you know that volunteering your time and expertise with K.U Comrades Forum can both advance your professional development and expand your network? From party monsters to book worms and our over-achieving sportsmen. Here’s what goes on inside the Kenyatta University community!
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