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Social media impersonation is a form of digital identity theft that affects everyone, from regular people to high-profile public figures and corporations. In this article, we’ll take a close look at brand impersonation so that organizations can understand what they can do to combat it.
A social media takedown, in the simplest terms, is the removal of a user or post from a social media network for violating the platform’s Terms of Service.
Takedowns can occur for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: postings that include harassing content, fraudulent re-sellers that offer counterfeit items, and user impersonation. Takedowns aren’t limited to social media platforms; they may happen everywhere on the internet, from the open web to the deep web or the black web, and can involve the deletion of whole domains.
Companies will often resort to takedowns as a kind of Digital Risk Protection if they discover anything online that might damage their brand’s image. Threats to a company’s reputation can come in many forms, such as fake social media accounts posing as official ones to sway public opinion, publishing fake websites impersonating a brand, sale of fake or pirated copies of the company’s products, or spear phishing efforts aimed at the company’s customers and workers.
Takedown services are for dissatisfied rights holders. All social networking networks covered here advocate contacting the account owners to seek content removal before initiating a takedown request.
Brands can use takedown methods if this strategy doesn’t work. This section presented Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn’s trademark removal procedures and tools.
Facebook and Instagram have nearly similar procedures when filing a claim for trademark, copyright, or “other legal rights” infringement. In all situations, the complaint must fill out a takedown form online detailing their identity, the IP right they rely on, the ownership of the offending usage, and the reasons for the confusion or infringement.
Rights holders or their authorized representatives can fill out the form. While rights holders can contact Facebook or Instagram’s designated agent, the sites recommend the online form as the most effective means of complaint. A Facebook or Instagram account is not required for a rights holder to submit a takedown request.
You must include information on the mark(s), the country of registration, and the products or services in question in the online form in case of a trademark complaint, whether related to fake account names or direct infringement. It is also advisable to submit a copy of the registration certificate or link to the official trademark database of the relevant nation.
Sites can remove content quickly but will often inform account holders with the complainant’s information so they may handle the situation on their own. The social media platform will likely find no policy violation if the user is not utilizing the trademark in connection with the products or services for which it is registered. It is up to the user to contact the site if they feel the information was deleted improperly based on a trademark right in the United States.
The websites also include instructions for filing a takedown request based on copyright, such as for the unauthorized use of an image or video. Specifically, the date on which the impersonator created the allegedly infringing work and who owns it must be included in the notice, as required by Section 512(3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
If the disputed account’s owner feels that the copyright claim was filed in error or the content in question has been misrepresented, it can file a counter-notice. Suppose the rights holder does not inform Facebook or Instagram within 10 to 14 business days after receiving a counter-notice that it has filed an action to limit the infringing behavior. In that case, Facebook or Instagram will restore the content in question.
Equally, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and selling counterfeit goods are all violations that may be reported to Twitter by filling out the appropriate online takedown forms. Provide complete information on the complaint, the asserted rights, and the infringing tweet (which may be a promoted commercial tweet).
Using the takedown form is preferred over contacting Twitter’s representative, and the rights holder need not have a Twitter account.
According to Twitter, if the rights on which it relies are, for example, only applicable in one nation, or if the products or services at issue are distinct from those covered by the trademark registration, the case may be confined to that jurisdiction or dismissed entirely. Before suspending an account, Twitter may allow users to bring their account in line with Twitter’s policy.
This again highlights the significance of ensuring that a rights holder has enough registered trademark protection in place. Pending trademarks do not qualify here, but they can be reported using the business impersonation removal or takedown form. If your Twitter ad misuses a registered trademark and causes people to be confused, you may file a claim with Twitter using the provided form.
Account suspension and/or removal from the Twitter ad platform are possible for anybody found in violation of Twitter’s policies.
Refer to Section 512(3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if you need to use Twitter’s copyright takedown process. Content that violates copyrights will be marked as “withheld” or “deleted” in the user’s feed after being reported by the copyright owner. To show that the holder of an IP right is vigilant in protecting it can be an effective deterrence against infringement by others.
With the help of LinkedIn, companies may advertise their products to other businesses, possible suppliers, end consumers, and even potential workers. Therefore, owners of rights should keep an eye out for any inappropriate use of their content on LinkedIn and take appropriate action if necessary. In this sense, there are still mechanisms for reporting fraudulent profile claims and requesting the removal of anything that violates someone else’s trademark or copyright.
When it comes to the specifics of how copyright and trademark takedown requests must be handled, LinkedIn is almost on par with Facebook and Instagram. In both trademark and copyright takedowns, the aggrieved account holder can file a particular counter-notice to defend their position.
The content can be reposted if the rights holder does not take legal action within ten business days of receiving a counter-notice. It may be required for rights holders to take action beyond the takedown processes, including, in extreme cases, litigation, and then to inform the social media platforms that they have done so. Typically, the offending website or account is then put on hold until further action may be taken.
TikTok does not systematically search for videos that violate intellectual property rights. Users and companies must actively seek infringing material and report it to the platform.
If the video’s creator remains uncooperative, you may always send a report to TikTok. Select “report” from the drop-down option. Choose your selection from the list below. If you want a video in which you appear removed from TikTok, pick “other” and explain why you think the video should be deleted.
If TikTok’s reporting system doesn’t help, you can always send them an email. Get proof of the offensive video and account before emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your full complaint details.
However, these days, technology is sufficient to provide around-the-clock security for your brand from social media impersonation.
Red Points’ Brand Impersonation Protection software automatically monitors and acts against counterfeiting your brand’s identity. It investigates potentially malicious profiles and asks for their removal, or the impersonation protection system performs it for you automatically.
The following is an example timeline for removing content from social networking sites:
1 Someone creates a malicious post regarding your business or brand. Even if you had nothing to do with making the harmful information, your name is now synonymous with it.
2. You discover it because your social media manager or Brand Impersonation Protection software flagged it. Calling in the security personnel is a necessary next step.
3. This is the point at which brands must take corrective measures. Is the brand protection software going to manage the danger, or will you address it internally, with the support of an expert, or both? Would you like to ask the social networking site to remove the content? In that case, it can be some time before the message is processed and deleted. You have the option of blocking the user who made the threat. This, however, does not prevent other users from viewing their content. Social media sites can delete the poster’s profile from the site at your request. Again, this may need some investment of time and materials.
4. After deciding on a plan of action, request the removal via the targeted social media network or your social media security solution. You may request takedowns from within the platform of a brand protection software provider, and they will deal with the rest.
Businesses rely heavily on social media to cultivate consumer connections and reputations. This is magnified for executive organizations, making it even more crucial to handle the dangers associated with social media. When a company loses control of its reputation, it may be disastrous.
This is why artificial intelligence solutions are so important to protect your brand from social media impersonation. Practicing good cybersecurity is a duty that everyone, from people to corporations, must undertake in order to protect their digital assets and keep criminals at bay.
Use Red Points’ Social Media Protection Software to protect your brand on social media!