Is Fred West really stalking me on Facebook?

17th Mar 2010 | 16:27

Is Fred West really stalking me on Facebook?

Guest columnist Graham Cluley has an unwanted Fan Page

In cyberspace it seems that deceased serial killers can live on.

I know this first hand, because for the last few months a character calling themselves "Fred West" has been running a Fan Page in my honour.

There's even a picture of the murderer on his profile, and a status message that says he loves to "potter around under people's patios"

Facebook rules state that only authorised representatives of companies, celebrities and music groups are allowed to create Fan Pages - other users should create groups instead.

I wouldn't exactly classify myself as a "celebrity", but clearly "Fred West" did not have my permission to create a Fan Page in my honour.

Furthermore, friends, acquaintances, and people who might know me for my work in the computer security field, are joining the Fan Page in the belief that they are somehow connecting with me. They have no way of telling that I didn't create this Fan Page.

As someone who has received anonymous death threats from Facebook users in the past, I don't see the funny side in someone called Fred West creating a Facebook page about me.

I've reported the abuse to the Facebook team and asked them to remove the Fan Page, but no action has yet been taken and the page remains in place at the time of writing.

If Facebook simply tightened up the process for creating a Fan Page on its site, so that the creators needed to prove that they are genuinely affiliated to the celebrity or company they are making the page for it would drastically reduce the number of fake Fan Pages and make the site safer.

So, how about it Facebook? Isn't it time to implement some better checks if you want to enforce your own rules?

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Graham Cluley is Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating hisaward-winning blogon the Sophos website you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley.

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