Facebook rolling out anti-catfish feature that flags copycats

24 Mar 2016

Facebook is gradually rolling out a new safety feature that will alert users that their profile details and images are possibly being used in a catfishing scam by someone else.

The movie Catfish highlighted a real concern of Facebook users that their profiles could be copied and their identities, essentially, stolen.

In response to such concerns, the social network started rolling out a new feature in November last year that is able to scan a newly-created profile and, if its systems deem it to be too similar to an existing one, it will notify the original profile owner.

This notification will appear as an alert asking the person whether this new profile is impersonating them, or if it’s not that person, potentially allow them to identify it as an entirely different person being copied.

According to Mashable, the feature has been rolled out to 75pc of the social network’s reach so far, with expansion expected over the coming months.

Comes following feedback from women

Facebook has also confirmed it’s to expand its image reporting features to include an ability to file a report if intimate images of you have been uploaded to the social network without your consent.

The decision to overhaul its privacy and reporting standards came about following discussions with users and activist groups, particularly regarding making social networks like Facebook a safer place for women.

Speaking to Mashable, Facebook’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis, said: “We heard feedback prior to the roundtables and also at the roundtables that this was a point of concern for women.

“And it’s a real point of concern for some women in certain regions of the world where it [impersonation] may have certain cultural or social ramifications.”

Face swapping image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic