Facebook: A Cautionary Tale.

I love social media. I’m a total Twitter addict and Pinterest is my go-to for so many things both at home and at school. I Instagram loads of photos (most my furkid and food – sorry!), and I use Google Hangouts to stay in touch with mates all over the world. Facebook though? No. I resisted Facebook for a very long time, but eventually caved in not long after I moved to the UK as it was a good way to stay in touch with friends back  home. A couple of years ago I deactivated it, mostly because I was tired of the drama it caused. Heaven forbid I should be ‘friends’ with some colleagues but not others! How dare I *not* want to share my personal life with people I am not friends with in real life! I do still have an active account, though it’s a sort of dummy account – it has no friends and no personal information, and is just there so that I can run our school Facebook page.

I’m well-versed in privacy settings on social media and thought I had covered myself pretty well. Yesterday, my Year 11 students alerted me to the fact that someone has set up an account and is pretending to be me. That in itself isn’t a huge bother – it’s not exactly identity theft in the truest sense as they’re not doing this across the board. I’m confident that it’s one of our students, but I don’t know who.

The problem is that they are actively ‘friending’ our current students. This, for what should be fairly obvious reasons, is of great concern.

One of my students showed me the profile via her own account. We reported it to Facebook as someone pretending to be someone she knows. I then found the profile via my own account, and reported it as someone pretending to be me. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Facebook responded with the following:

facebook 1

You can follow this up with a second attempt, and you can add a comment to that. I reported that the account is likely being run by a student at my school, is ‘friending’ current students, and therefore leaves me open to all kinds of allegations. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on a reply.

It seems that there is very little that I can do other than wait and hope that Facebook understand the necessity of shutting down the account.

In the meantime, I’ve let my headteacher know exactly what’s going on and what I’ve tried to do through Facebook themselves. Luckily he’s very understanding and aware that I’ve done what I can. I’m not sure what will happen if a parent sees it and understandably complains – hopefully they’ll get that it’s really not me.

I remain in favour of teachers using social media, and this won’t deter me from staying online. It’s a good reminder to regularly Google myself to find out what’s out there – even if it remains out of my control to do anything about it.

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