Brand hijacking is on the rise

Brand hijacking is on the rise
SHARE
THIS



Be warned: bored pranksters can impersonate multi-million-dollar brands on Facebook with just a few keystrokes.

How often do you have someone checking and updating your company’s Facebook page? If it’s once a week, or even every few days, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Just Jeans learnt this the hard way a week or so ago, when it discovered a prankster wreaking havoc on its official Facebook page. Over a 12-hour period, a user pretending to be a company spokesperson replied to customers with offensive comments, telling one customer who gave positive feedback that she’d actually been blacklisted across several stores.

This is the latest in a string of high-profile incidents where company Facebook pages have been hijacked by pranksters. Flight Centre suffered the same fate recently on its official Facebook page, and sheepishly admitted that a fake Flight Centre profile had been impersonating a company spokesperson for several months.

That’s right, months. Flight Centre wasn’t just asleep at the wheel, it was in an outright coma.

In November, budget airline Jetstar discovered a fake Jetstar Australia profile that was answering customer posts with rude replies, calling one customer a ‘spoilt brat’ and convincing another customer that her flight had been cancelled.

Imagine if someone walked into a Just Jeans store, pretended to be a staff member, and began insulting customers? The offender would be kicked out of the store immediately, and the police would probably be called in for good measure.

The alarming thing is that it doesn’t require any hacking or specialist IT knowledge to pull this stunt off. Just for laughs, I created a Just Jeans profile and used the same profile picture as the Just Jeans page administrator.

All I needed was an email address. As far as the Just Jeans page’s fans were concerned, I was the administrator, as any posts and comments that I wrote would look identical to the ones made by the page administrator.

It shouldn’t be this easy to impersonate businesses and brands on Facebook, but it is. Bored pranksters can impersonate multi-million-dollar brands with just a few keystrokes, and it’s a loophole that Facebook really needs to address. It wouldn’t be difficult; Facebook could differentiate page moderator posts with different formatting or have an icon next to the moderator’s profile name.

The lesson here is to be vigilant. I’m expecting more and more of these incidents to occur as the loophole becomes more widely known, and until Facebook addresses this issue, the onus is on businesses to respond swiftly to any hijacking attempts. 

Matt Barbelli is creative director at Frank Digital

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Fairfax Appoints Philippa Walker As Head Of Travel
  • Media

Fairfax Appoints Philippa Walker As Head Of Travel

Following the recent restructure of its commercial division, Fairfax Media has appointed Philippa Walker to oversee the Travel vertical within Australian Metro Publishing (AMP) business which includes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times, WAtoday and more.  In late 2017, the commercial teams were reshaped with a vertical focus under […]

Australia’s OOH Industry Grows Revenue For Eighth Consecutive Year
  • Advertising
  • Media

Australia’s OOH Industry Grows Revenue For Eighth Consecutive Year

The local out-of-home (OOH) industry increased its net media revenue by 6.03 per cent in 2017 to $837.1 million, signifying its eighth consecutive year of growth. According to figures released by the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), net revenue for the OOH industry grew 4.5 per cent in the final quarter of 2017 to $252.7 million. Digital […]

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018
  • Opinion
  • Technology

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018

Here's an insightful, authoritative synopsis of the app economy. So, you're right, it wasn't written by a B&T journo.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine