As social media continues to grow in popularity, there are some things to be mindful of. Anyone can make a fake Twitter or Facebook account, and public figures are frequent targets. One Central New York Assemblyman learned that lesson recently. Our Iris St. Meran has some tips on what to do if this happens to you.
CENTRAL NEW YORK -- Signing up for a Facebook or twitter account is easy. All you need to do is answer some questions then upload a photo. Assemblyman Don Miller, who represents parts of the Central New York Region, learned Friday there was a twitter account communicating under his name and picture.
Miller said, "I do not have a twitter account, nor do I intend to have one at this time. The tweets on the page are not mine and I will not respond to anything that appears on the page of the account. If this is satire, it should be identified as such."
Syracuse University iSchool Professor Anthony Rotolo says Miller is correct. Although free speech, even if parody, is protected, it needs to be clear.
"Most importantly an account that is a parody or satire, must explicitly say that in the biographic information and then in that account,” Rotolo added, “If they don't, twitter will shut it down until the account complies. So, the assemblyman or anyone else who has a fake account made in their name can pursue the proper channels with Twitter and they will see results from that."
Rotolo says this happens a lot with celebrities and other well know figures. Even last year, Assemblyman William Magnarelli posted on Facebook someone created a fake account under his name. Reporting these pages is as easy a sending a tweet.
Rotolo said, "There's a spam function on twitter and in most twitter apps for doing that. Also, there's a spam account on Twitter, it's @spam. You can tweet at and tell twitter to take a look into an account to see if it's legitimate."
Assemblyman Miller tells YNN he's never sent a tweet. Rotolo says being active on social media can be the first line of defense to ensure someone isn't posing as you because you can make your brand known and easily find and report fake accounts.
Rotolo also suggests signing up for Google alerts. It will notify you anytime your name is used on the internet.