Verified Facebook page masquerading as the Elon Musk surface attracts 70,000 followers before it’s pulled

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A verified Facebook page posing as Elon Musk and having 70,000 followers has been removed from the social networking site. It was another incident a little over a month after a similar Facebook page posing as the Tesla boss surfaced online. The newly discovered fansite appeared to have been created by cryptocurrency scammers, as one of their recent posts asked users to connect to the owner via direct messages for an unknown digital currency.

Cybersecurity researcher Ehraz Ahmed discovered Elon Musk’s falsely verified Facebook page last month. He told Gadgets 360 that he originally found Musk’s former Facebook page, which went down in November.

“I was sure that this wasn’t the end and that the scammers would develop a similar scam. But what I didn’t expect was that the new fake page would pop up so soon, ”said the Bengaluru-based researcher.

The page in question was created back in May 2015, as detailed in the “About” section. Interestingly, no name changes were made, which was not the case with the previous verified page that appeared and was removed last month, as it received name updates at least six times in 2021 and was originally created to represent a “Kizito Gavin” – the reverse name of the Ugandan soccer player Gavin Kizito.

Facebook showed that the verified page was administered by people in Germany and Spain

Although the name was spelled correctly and correctly on the Facebook page, the URL was misspelled and was viewed as https://www.facebook.com/ellonnmusk. This itself suggested something fishy. Also, the verified page showed that it was managed by some people from Germany and Spain. Musk is primarily based in Texas rather than Europe.

Ahmed stated that both the previous and the newly discovered Facebook pages appeared to be part of a cryptocurrency scam.

“On the previous page I covered, people were asked to send bitcoins and they were promised double the amount in return,” he said. “This time the fraudsters took a different route with their impersonators. You wrote a post saying that Musk is launching a new coin called #MUSKCoin. And anyone who would like to know more about this digital currency can write to him directly. “

The news via another verified Musk Facebook page was first reported by the Web News Observer last week. However, Gadgets 360 was able to independently check that the page was live by Monday and was removed shortly after we discussed the details with Facebook mom Meta. However, the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the matter.

It is not yet clear whether the page has been removed from Facebook or directly by its owners.

Facebook as “lame”
Musk, who was quite active on Twitter, called Facebook “lame” in a tweet in February last year with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook. It was in response to an anti-Facebook tweet by Hollywood actor and producer Sacha Baron Cohen. However, it was not the first time that the 50-year-old billionaire showed his distance from the social networking platform.

In 2018, Musk said that year, calling Facebook lame back then.

Musk has not officially been on Meta’s Instagram since August 2018.

Ineffective despite strict verification process
Facebook says on a support page that the verified badge confirms that the page or profile on its platform has the authentic presence of the public figure or brand it represents. The company claims it “considers a number of factors when evaluating Facebook pages and profiles to determine whether they are in the public interest and meet our verification criteria”. In addition, an official identification document such as a driver’s license or passport of the site or profile owner is required for verification. However, it seems that such a rigorous process does nothing to limit fake reviews.

“That Facebook is making such outrageous mistakes as authenticating this fake Elon Musk account strongly suggests that the company simply hasn’t invested enough resources in the human-centric verification process and is instead hoping that its artificial intelligence (AI) systems are good enough work – and “They probably work well in many cases, but we know they will fail in many special cases,” said Noah Giansiracusa, professor at Bentley University in Boston.

Giansiracusa recently wrote a book called How Algorithms Create and Prevent Fake News to highlight the challenges of using AI and human moderation to limit false online content.

Facebook is notorious for allowing fake news and misinformation on its platform. The platform has tried to address these issues by providing updates in the recent past, but fake and duplicate users is one of the issues that has not yet been successfully addressed.

In a conference call in 2018, Meta CFO David Wehner admitted the duplicate user issue. He stated that “The Facebook MAU number counts multiple accounts for a single user when such accounts exist, and we estimate that these account for approximately 10 percent of our Facebook MAUs, as we did in the Metrics Restriction section of our SEC earlier -Registrations disclosed. “

Former Meta employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen also raised the company’s problem of mishandling duplicate accounts earlier this year.

Giansiracusa told Gadgets 360 that given Facebook’s limited control over removing duplicate and fake accounts, the platform’s AI algorithms are inefficient and ineffective at cracking down on impersonating profiles.

“With fake accounts like this one from Elon Musk, I wonder if Facebook really cares enough to really address this problem – because even these fake accounts attract a lot of engagement and therefore make Facebook profit companies to contain them?” He has asked.

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