Start-up helps users expose fake Facebook friends

A start-up has released an app designed to help users to figure out whether that new person who added them on Facebook is a bot, scammer or other safety threat.

According to recent studies, between 10-20% of Facebook’s more than 1.35 billion users are inauthentic, their purported identities either wholly constructed or stolen.

And that’s where FakeOFF comes in.

“There are any number of reasons why someone would want to create a fake profile for themselves,” explains FakeOFF CEO Shachar.

“Some of them are relatively harmless, but in the bad cases — whether it’s a pedophile posing as a minor, or someone looking to plant a bug and invade your computer, or a physical burglar hoping to take advantage of the next time they see you posting vacation shots — there is a very real danger that people need to be protected from. Regardless of the motive, I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to know who it is they’re dealing with.”

Sachar came up with the idea for FakeOFF after realizing that he himself had been the victim of fraud.

“Nothing bad came out of it,” he explains, “but even just knowing that I had let this fake person into my life gave me this sense of having been violated. It opened my eyes to how easy it is to impersonate someone online, and how many different illicit uses that ability can be put toward.”