Are Sketchy Weirdos Trying to Friend You on Facebook? Tell Them to FakeOFF!

July 1, 2014

9:47 am

Has this happened to you? You accidentally confirm a stranger’s request to become friends on Facebook, only to realize that “friend” is a total fake. According to recent studies, between 10-20 percent of Facebook’s more than 1.35 billion users are inauthentic. That’s right – these phony Facebook users are either wholly constructed or stolen. Recently launched FakeOFF aims to keep us safer on Facebook by analyzing up to 365 days of Timeline to root out fake users. The startups examines suspicious activity and photos and returns an easily comprehensible number score for each random “friend” who comes your way. FakeOFF was founded by an Israeli entrepreneur named Eliran Shachar. He has over a decade of startup experience and is now participating in the BizSpark Plus partner program and Microsoft YouthSpark program.

“The Internet is a tremendous platform for networking and for connecting socially, but many of the same things that make it so useful also undermine its safety,” said Shachar.

Shachar and his team built their tool to ward off predation from thieves, hackers, sex offenders, and other seedy types. Using advanced algorithms, FakeOFF analyzes usage patterns and assigns each “friend” a 1-10 ranking for likely fraud. Users can create “suspect” lists and receive automatic notifications regarding suspicious activity. And don’t let those vacation photos trick you, either. FakeOFF even scans photos to determine if they are genuine and will guarantee full privacy and control of their usage.

“A lot of people are wary about the interactions they or their loved ones are engaging in on sites like Facebook, and that is with good reason,” said Shachar. “You wouldn’t let just anyone in to your house, right? But people are much looser with their online behavior, even though the level of access people can gain to your life just through a Facebook account is considerable.”

FakeOFF’s basic version is free and allows for Timeline scans going back 10 days. At $1.99, the “Advance One” package allows for a single but comprehensive investigation that includes 365-day Timeline and activity analysis and unlimited photo assessments using FakeOFF’s Image Fraud Scan program. The regular subscription ($9.99) gives users unlimited access to all the tools FakeOFF has to offer. Learn more about the new tool here.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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