Famous names and fake accounts.
WHAT’S in a name? Online, it’s quite a bit – particularly if you share a name with someone a lot more famous than you.
Usernames can lead to some unwanted attention and undeserving notoriety, if you’re unlucky enough to have the same name as somebody world famous.
Mistaken identity on Twitter can happen to users who happen to share a username ( or Twitter handle) with a famous figure, and also to those who hijack a popular brand name for their own ends ( or snap it up before the legitimate organisation or identity does). Twitter’s verification service is designed to end the confusion, requiring users with famous names to prove their identity and be proven real with the Twitter tick beside their name.
But some of them don’t get around to it, or haven’t yet, and then there’s the gullibility of netizens, assuming the best.
Sometimes, for the average netizen with a famous username, it’s not the best situation to be in.
For example, Scottish 18- year- old Kelvin Mackenzie, who shares his name with a former UK newspaper editor, recently faced criticism for printing false accusations about a 1989 soccer tragedy that killed 96 people. Many attacks on the older MacKenzie were directed at the unrelated younger man online, despite his efforts to clarify the misconception that they were the same person.
Sometimes it can all happen so quickly.
When author @MargaretAtwood tweeted a warm welcome to @CormacMcCarthy, she wasn’t aware that it was 42- year- old unpublished Scottish author Michael Crossan, instead of the famous American novelist. The truth came to light and the account has since been suspended.
At what point does going along with the pretence become identity theft?
There are thousands of fake accounts in other people’s names on Twitter – that’s why the service has a validation process for celebrities.
If an account is not verified, assume it is fake.