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Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms with 237.8 million active users daily around the world, a number that has been steadily rising year over year. What started as a microblogging site is now a reliable social media network that is used by both businesses and individuals including celebrities. However, like many other social media platforms, it faces one major problem – the presence of fake accounts.
Though estimates for the amount of fake Twitter accounts vary drastically, the most reliable number comes from SparkToro and Followerwonk, who put the percentage of fake accounts on Twitter at 19.42%.
Fortunately, Twitter takes fake accounts very seriously and is known to permanently block such accounts. It has a stringent impersonification policy in place. Here’s what the official website says: “Accounts that pose as another person, group, or organization in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under Twitter’s misleading and deceptive identities policy.”
Look at feedback or complaints from customers and identify buyers who have never purchased from you or your authorized sellers. Most companies keep a record of customers and it can be easy to find buyers who got scammed by others.
Someone who purchases a fake product may not always know it’s fake. They may buy it assuming it to be genuine, resulting in disappointment. Such people are usually fast to leave feedback and question the manufacturer.
Do not neglect such complaints and take them very seriously as they can be a strong indicator of impersonations.
Scammers rob people using a variety of tricks. Here are some common online scams on Twitter:
Beauty and skincare products, fashion goods, medicines, and cleaning products are some of the most commonly counterfeited goods; however, the list includes other items as well.
The recent rollout of Twitter’s new scheme, Twitter Blue, caused a surge in brand personation due to the scant identity requirements needed in order to sign up. With just an Apple ID, a phone number, and a €7.99 monthly fee, accounts would be awarded a blue check. Fake accounts popped up overnight, with a blue check to make them look legitimate.
The pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly and Co., lost billions on the stock market due to a tweet from a lookalike account. The fake account, posing under the name @EliLillyandCo, tweeted “We are excited to announce insulin is now free,” and was subsequently shared 3,000 times after remaining online for several hours.
Similarly, Lockheed Martin – a US-based weapons maker – noticed a 5% fall in market value due to a tweet from an impersonated account with the new blue tick.
Should you find an account that is impersonating your brand, diverting your profits, and giving you a bad reputation, you will need to report it to Twitter immediately and get it taken down. As in the case of Eli Lilly and Co., time is of the essence—all it took was several hours of being online for the Tweet to be shared 3,000 times and for Eli Lilly’s market value to plummet.
You may have just spotted one account impersonating your brand – but there are likely many others. Detecting, monitoring, and taking down accounts becomes an impossible task when just as you succeed in getting one account taken down, another pops up somewhere else.
There are two ways to report Twitter accounts:
It can take about a week to hear back from the company. In most cases, the culprit’s account will get permanently blocked or content that infringes one’s right will be taken off. In case your report is not successful, Twitter may give you the right to reapply with more documents or proof.
Twitter understands that there aren’t just fake individual accounts but also pages selling fake products.
Here’s what the official site says: “Using another’s trademark in a way that may mislead or confuse people about your affiliation may be a violation of our trademark policy.“
You can report such violations by going here and providing the required information.
The first step is to choose the kind of report you wish to submit. It is best that you have a conversation with your legal department before you submit a complaint so that it doesn’t get wasted.
Next, you will have to prove you have a right to submit a complaint. Remember that only the legal trademark holder or their reps are allowed to submit trademark complaints.
While you can choose the third option ‘I am reporting misuse of someone else’s trademark,’ the company will not accept such a request and might ask you to submit a report regarding counterfeit products.
Twitter doesn’t allow scammers to sell fakes including digital and physical goods. You can report such violations by going here.
Choose you’re reporting counterfeit goods and submit a report. Both trademark owners and those not related to the product can file a complaint.
This is because the company allows victims or buyers of fake goods to file reports. Once a report has been submitted, Twitter will inspect the matter and may block the account of the person selling or promoting counterfeit goods.
Fake profiles can appear at any moment. Even when you’ve managed to take down one, another impersonation could pop up somewhere else. Red Points’ bots crawl all social media platforms every eight hours, so you don’t have to keep a constant lookout for impersonations.
Using machine learning, every search conducted will become increasingly accurate at scoping out any bad actors exploiting your brand.
The next step involves detection of bad actors. Using AI, Red Points is able to identify anybody infringing your intellectual property (IP).
When you open your Red Points dashboard, you will be able to see the number of potential infringements these searches have found. In a Red Points case below, the number of detections sat at 36,000.
3. Validation & Prioritization
Red Points will group any detected infringements into categories. In the example of a Red Points dashboard below, you will have a list of incidents you should evaluate under “My Tasks” (1), and next to that, any groups perceived to be of high risk (2).
Depending on the conditions you have pre-approved, Red Points will automatically request takedowns of content or profiles that violate your brands IP.
Within the Red Points dashboard, you have tools where you are able to see the impact of taking down fraudsters impersonating your brand as well as the revenue you have recovered in doing so:
As discussed in our previous articles, the economic impact of counterfeit goods is huge. The counterfeit industry is expected to be worth $4.2 trillion by 2022. It causes businesses – both big and small – to not only lose money but also suffer from issues such as customer backlash and image setbacks.
Being able to report fake accounts or copyright infringement could help businesses protect their interest and ensure their customers or potential buyers do not end up with fake products.
Most companies have legal departments or teams that look after potential infringement and report such instances. However, the process can be slow and time consuming. Fortunately, there are now tools like Red Points that make it possible to not only quickly find offenders but to also report issues.
With a Revenue Recovery tool like Red Points by your side, you will be able to handle more reports in less time, allowing your team members to concentrate on other issues.