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

TAC & Taboo Urge Victorians To make Roads Safer In ‘This Christmas’
  • Media

TAC & Taboo Urge Victorians To make Roads Safer In ‘This Christmas’

The TAC and Taboo have created a high impact, interactive campaign encouraging all Victorians to play their part in making our roads safer – ‘This Christmas’. The activation is filled with thousands of brightly coloured ribbons featuring messages written by real Victorians, to encourage us to all stay safe for the merriest Christmas both on […]

NITV Announces Four Indigenous Executive Appointments
  • Media

NITV Announces Four Indigenous Executive Appointments

National Indigenous television service NITV has announced four senior Indigenous appointments who will be responsible for growing its on-air and online platforms. Rhanna Collins, a proud Palawa woman, has worked at NITV for the past four years and has been appointed as executive editor, working across the TV station’s news and current affairs digital and […]

Publicis & Qld Transport And Main Roads Department Launch #LiftLegends
  • Campaigns

Publicis & Qld Transport And Main Roads Department Launch #LiftLegends

Queensland’s Transport and Main Roads Department (TMR) and creative agency Publicis Worldwide are targeting drink-driving over the holiday season with a new road safety campaign launching this week. The campaign is encouraging people to organise a #LiftLegend to make their way home. Set to the Bette Midler classic, Wind Beneath My Wings, this is the […]

AMSRO Applauds ACCC’s Preliminary Report To Safeguard Data Privacy
  • Marketing

AMSRO Applauds ACCC’s Preliminary Report To Safeguard Data Privacy

The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) today applauded the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) preliminary Digital Platforms Inquiry report and proposals to further protect the privacy of individuals across the digital landscape.

AppNexus Offers Buyers Fee-Transparent Supply-Side Platform
  • Advertising
  • Technology

AppNexus Offers Buyers Fee-Transparent Supply-Side Platform

AppNexus, a Xandr company and leader in advertising technology, has announced that agreements with many direct publishers in the AppNexus marketplace and partnerships with third-party transparency companies have facilitated one of the programmatic advertising industry’s first fee-transparent supply-side platforms (SSP), giving buyers an unprecedented level of visibility into technology fees. “Through our policies and partnerships, AppNexus […]