Clay Aiken Versus Facebook

Facebook just turned 5 years old last month.  At a time when there should have been celebration, the good times were marred by news reports about sex scandals, phishing, and other malicious activity on the large social network.

On February 4, 2009, news broke of an elaborate sex ring involving at least 31 high school students and an 18 year old man who manipulated the students on Facebook. There have also been many reports of fraudsters who phished on Facebook and were able to get enough information to commit identity fraud.

With the news this week-end, from Clay Aiken about the “fake” Facebook site in his name, there has been much discussion about Facebook Identity Fraud.  Is identity fraud a big problem and is there a way to close the accounts and punish the person who is the Facebook imposter?

There have been concerns in the past over Facebook becoming a hotbed for identity theft. With all of the personal information available on profiles, industry pundits feared social networking sites would be easy pickings for hackers. What they didn’t predict was ‘Facebook identity theft’, meaning someone virtually stealing your identity on Facebook.

There are many stories about celebrities, sports stars and even the every-day people who have discovered they have a Facebook imposter.

CNN reported that Moroccan authorities arrested an engineer for allegedly stealing the identity of the king’s younger brother on Facebook.  It was reported that the imposter was very good and that he had many friends of the Prince signed in as friends.

For some reason the NHL has been having a huge problem with identity imposters.  There are many people posing as these celebrity athletes.  Their spokesman said that it plays into the old adage, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  If you think you’re in the real Jonathan Cheechoo’s friend list, you probably aren’t.

“People have asked me if I’m on Facebook,” said Calgary Flames right winger, Jarome Iginia.  “I guess my name is on it.  I don’t go on it so I don’t know too much about it.  I don’t know what can be done, but I’m not on there.”

If you look up Wayne Gretzky on Facebook, “the great one” has about 30 facebook profiles and all are fraudulent except for one.

Players, Mike Fisher and Mats Sundin have tried to get their pages shut down.  However, that is difficult to do. Shut one down and another one opens.

On July 24, 2008 the High Court in London ordered Grant Raphael to pay GBP £22,000 (about USD $31,500 at the February 2009 exchange rate) for breach of privacy and libel. Raphael had posted a fake Facebook page purporting to be that of a former school friend and business colleague, Mathew Firsht, with whom Raphael had falling out in 2000. The fake page claimed that Firscht was homosexual and untrustworthy. The case is believed to be the first successful invasion of privacy and defamation verdict against someone over an entry on a social networking site.

A newspaper writer discovered he had a Facebook imposter.  To help solve the problem, the writer registered another profile and sent the imposter a friend request which was promptly accepted.  The imposter was very busy.  He invited dozens of people.  He joined a housing group and added musical and political preferences to the site.

After about 2 weeks, the writer who is middle-eastern, was feeling uncomfortable with the political comments on the site, and felt it had gone too far.  He contacted Facebook and his lawyer.  The woman who answered at Facebook said; “It’s happened before, so you are not alone.”  After contacting a customer service representative, he was told that he must prove his identity before they would close the profile.  The writer demanded to see all the postings to see the extent of the damage done.  Facebook would not provide that information.

“We will not share any user information unless that user permits it or we are required by law,” explained Facebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker, although the user in question had set up the fake profile.  The writer’s lawyer contacted Facebook and was told that they would only release the information if it received a court order.

What does this all mean to Clay Aiken?  Well, it looks like a lot of time and money would have to be spent to find the person who was his imposter.  It must be frustrating to not know all the things that might have been done in his name.

It is sad that people cannot be respectful of the privacy of others.  But, it’s like anything else.  There is always someone looking to create some trouble for others.


Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain clayaiken.com.

Comments

  1. It's a disgrace to see what goes on with these sites. Something needs to be done, with a few more laws put in place on these criminals. We need some regulation on the internet.

  2. While not specifically related to identity theft North Carolina is working on toughening up their libel laws as it relates to the internet. It's way to easy to post deliberate lies about a real person. They want to make the account owner of a message board, blog, myspace, etc. responsible for what ever content that owner allows to be posted. I hope they succeed.

  3. Thanks for this article. Another great job CANN.

    It is rather frustrating to see what damage some people can do to others because they clearly have too much time on their hands.

    Wouldn’t it be great to see a day when those people behind all the fraudulent identities on blogs, MySpace pages and now Facebook pages, are held accountable without it being at great expense and trouble for those that are being victimized.

  4. I agree, the internet has brought about a change in society and not all of it is good. Seems like legislation is very slow in this area and some of the sites are uncooperative at getting to the bottom of the problems. People can create fake profiles just about anywhere, no place is immune to it. We’re familiar with fake profiles of Clay popping up at various places, but I’m sure that many other celebrities have the same problem as well others who are unknown to us. How can we go about getting our congress people to see this problem and do something about it?

  5. Religion used to be the foundation of society. That has been torn away by modern culture, with nothing to replace it. We have a generation raised on Jerry Springer, who think it is fun to ‘mess’ with people and their lives on the internet. To the internet bullies, it is just entertainment, but to the victims, it is real and it is torture.

    The legal system is asleep at the switch. When they finally wake up and pass some laws, I hope they are retroactive.

  6. Thanks for the informative article. It is really scary that identify fraud has become so rampant on the internet. I agree that congress or some legislative body needs to take a closer look at this. People’s lives can and have been ruined over false information and identify theft.

  7. I agree that we need legislation out there dealing with Internet fraud and bullying. Behavior like this has caused divorce and suicides.

    With the advent of the internet, our government has fallen way behind on enacting regulations to protect their citizens and, believe it or not, this includes celebrities. The last time I looked, public figures are also citizens of this country and should be entitled to the same protection as everyone else. Right now, it feels like the government is protecting no one when it comes to the internet (except maybe the bad guys).

  8. It’s too bad that Facebook, Myspace, and other social networking sites are not required to state right up front when you join, that there is no way to know who you are contacting, and that no one should assume they are talking to a celebrity when on these sites. It won’t stop the gullible, but at least they’ve been warned.

  9. I’ve heard it said that the internet is the new wild west. This certainly seems to be true. Getting the word out is important. This great article is a step in the right direction.

  10. Internet impersonation is widespread using such sites as facebook, myspace, twitter. Hopefully, it can be curbed. Fans of Clay Aiken have been fooled as well as many others.

  11. Great article.

    No wonder Clay says if you don’t read it on his official site don’t believe it. There are so many imposters and so many lies spread around and not just about Clay. It’s time the law caught up.

  12. The world has become a very scary place, I agree that there should be some sort of regulation for internet fraud, but how would and could it be done, since it is not just a problem in the USA but all over the world. How do you legislate laws that cover people who abuse the system and live overseas?

  13. This is clearly an overwhelming problem, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be solved. It does mean, however, that someone with authority has to take it on as an issue. Is it possible to get a groundswell going that will prompt a senator or congressperson to get involved? This well-written article is certainly a step in the right direction.

  14. If this matter concerns you, I would recommend everyone send e-mails to their state and also U.S. Senators, Congressmen and also to the President. Through the voice of many, change CAN occur!!

  15. Great article.
    After Clay blogged about the fake Face Book page, I just did a search there of his name.
    It was unbelievable as to how many were listed.
    After reading his blog, a friend let me know that there was a virus or malware on Face Book also. My research said that this virus attaches to a PC and picks up all personal info.
    Like Clay said – these are people that have too much time on their hands.
    Very sad.

  16. With each technological progress, the legislative bodies have been slow to enact laws to protect the public. How long did it take before every movie, TV show was forced to rate itself for age-appropriate viewing? The Internet exploded decades ago and the laws have yet to catch up. There is a need for a groundswell demand from the public that legislative bodies around the world start taking a serious look at this relatively new technology to protect the innocent, not just the savvy hackers.

  17. Thanks for this article! I am so glad that Clay addressed this problem! There will always be people posing as others on the internet until some kind of legislation is passed that will penalize these offenders.

    Clay fans should know by now that Clay is only going to correspond with his very close friends and family on the internet. That is a no brainer!

  18. Great article, and so true. Fraud and identity theft are rampaging these days. Scammers are everywhere, to bad they are to lazy to actually work for a living, and put their brains to work on meaningful things.

  19. Amazing isn’t it? A friend just sent me an article from the UK Guardian newspaper about a fake Ewan McGregor. Just crazy!!!

  20. I continue to be so impressed with CANN. You bring the news daily in a thoroughly professional manner. Kudos to you.

    I think it remains “let the buyer beware” even in this technological world. Evil will only exist as long as people feed it. It is a sad, sad situation.

  21. That’s a great write up! All these sites ask is for you to type in information with no proof that you are who you say you are. I can’t believe that after this many years of internet, the lack of laws to protect people on the net.

  22. There are several, several Clay Aikens on Facebook. The real Clay’s facebook is not open to the public so all Clay Aikens there that accept friends are fakes.

    Thank you for the excellent article concerning the problems with Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites.
    As always you do a great job CANN.

  23. It’s horrible what is happening with these types of online sites. We all need to be so careful with how we use the internet.

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