The sound of the Lie Bell Libel
So, I was sick and had another article in progress to publish this week, but I thought I would write about this instead as it relates to the main topic of this blog more than the other one. In the past week, I received tweets directed at my twitter account which attempted to smear the reputation of the Translator Scammers Directory and João Roque Dias. So, this is a follow-up to On Lying Through Their Teeth: Identifying Translator Scammers and it leads to the broader topic of how to determine whether or not you should take an article or statement you saw online to heart. In order to keep interest, I will present this David Letterman style.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have right here in my hand tonight’s top ten list.
The category tonight, “Top 10 ways to tell if a social media or blog account is a fake.”
Number 10. No. of followers
One of the easiest, but not always reliable, ways to tell if a social media account or a blog is a fake is by the number of followers. How many other people are listening to what this person has to say. The two accounts in question have 6 followers each.
Number 9. Type of followers
What kind of followers does this person have? Are they industry-related or special interest followers? Are they random personal accounts? Or are they clearly fake accounts? Of the aggregate 12 followers of the two accounts in question, one is a translator.
Number 8. Type of accounts followed
What kind of accounts is this person following? (Similar to the types of followers this person has.) Is this person following others in the same field or are they following political figures or celebrities? Between @Becky_Brown52 and @kennyta2016, they are following mainly celebrities, athletes, social media companies, and a Bangladeshi cricket team.
Number 7. Consistency of post theme and the number of similar posts
On social media, I create separate accounts for separate purposes. Facebook is personal and professional, only my closest colleagues are connected to me there. Even so, I have established separate friend lists for when I write or share T&I related posts, or Korean adoptee related posts, or when I talk about political things, I block those with differing viewpoints from seeing my posts 1) because I do not want to start a fight with them and jeopardize my friendship with them and 2) out of common courtesy because I do not want to see their political posts. All of these separate friend groups have separate friend lists. My Twitter account is solely devoted to T&I posts and I only tweet about T&I interests. Subsequently, I will stop following a translator or interpreter on Twitter if they post a string of personal, pop culture, or political things, I keep themes separate and appreciate it when others do the same. Both @Becky_Brown52 and @kennyta2016 have a sum total of 205 tweets between them and the tweets are all sharing news articles.
Number 6. Linked Accounts
This one is big. Something that a lot of legitimate bloggers will do is link their related accounts. For example, I link this blog with my twitter account because they discuss the same issues and topics and when I post something on this blog, a tweet automatically goes out. I also commonly refer to both and it is clear that even though I may not have many subscribed followers on my blog, I do have many more followers on my twitter. So this goes with Number 10. Is the aggregate sum of this person’s followers (within the realm of the industry) a significant amount to where you can believe what this person says?
Number 5. Visual appeal of the page or profile setup.
Did the person take the time to nurture their account/page? Most people, when they create an account on social media, or when they set up a blog or a website, they spend time and personalize it; they put their brand on it and make it their own. Fake account owners will not spend time with something as frivolous when their main focus is not building their own brand.
Number 4. The type of language used
Now here is something interesting to consider. Most discussions on professional topics will be civil. The only time they are not is when it is on a dedicated gripe page (ex. Re: Payment practices) or reporting page with an established rapport (ex. Translator-Scammers Directory), when someone is trolling (posting controversial things to get a rise out of people), or when they are fake, lying, and trying to run a smear campaign on someone’s reputation.
Number 3. Timeline of posts
Here is another important one. Fake accounts will often appear to have an established history of posts but upon further inspection, all the posts they have are from a single day and are not spread out over time (Ex. At the time of writing this, I have tweeted about 381 times over the course of my seven years of being a member of twitter. The fake twitter accounts who were attacking @tsdirectory and Dias had 105 tweets all from 10 February 2016 and 100 tweets all from 09 February 2016).
Number 2. Profile photo
This one is very straightforward. An important aspect as to whether to take to heart what someone is saying is whether or not they have a profile picture. By default, Twitter will give someone the generic profile photo of an egg shape. With various colors (see sample below)
But that is not to say that the existence of a profile photo is a telltale sign that an account is not a fake. One of the fake accounts trying to besmirch @tsdirectory and Dias had a stolen photo.
And the number one way to tell if a social media or blog account is a fake:
The best way to know whether or not you should take to heart what someone posted on the internet is whether or not you have actually met this person (a lot of my followers have met me at conferences and vice versa), or whether or not this person is known or recognized in the field for their work.
Just like before, this is not an exhaustive list, and it is not a definitive way to tell if someone is a fake, but by taking these factors into consideration, you will be better able to tell whether or not someone is to be believed.
Please feel free to ask questions if I was not clear on anything or if you have any questions of your own. If you would like to see the twitter accounts that tried to tarnish the reputation of @tsdirectory and Dias, feel free to check them out, they are: @becky_brown52 and @kennyta2016 and in both tweets, they directed me to ahmedshakirblog.wordpress.com