Fake profiles on Facebook – companies deliberately invading users privacy?

Like a fake Facebook profileWhen you start looking at Facebook friends of friends you begin to see how many companies seem to be using fake profiles as part of their marketing.

The reason that they do this is that brand pages have to be ‘Liked’ by users but if you set up as a fake person then you can ask hundreds or thousands of people to friend you – then you have access to their friends and your new friend’s details like birthday etc.

Professional marketers have stayed away from doing this because they [perhaps wrongly] assumed that Facebook would shut down these fake profiles, although this does not seem to happen even when they are reported and then you would lose the many ‘friends’ that you had built up.

But it seems that many companies are using fake profiles very successfully and not being stopped – I’d love to know if this is sanctioned by the companies officially:

Here are some listed by Brand – Facebook link – Date set up – Friends

Eclectic Bars – all of these are the same company – a nightclub and bar chain:

Po Na Na Wimbledon
http://www.facebook.com/ponana.wimbledon – 2 October 2008 – 2083

Fez Club Putney
http://www.facebook.com/fezclub – 20 December 2008 – 3941

Fez Club Cambridge
http://www.facebook.com/Fez.Club.CB2 – 25 November 2008 – 3306

Lo La Lo
http://www.facebook.com/lolalo.bournemouth – 17 August 2011 – hidden

Slug and Lettuce – a well known chain of pubs:

Check out the consistent naming convention – slugandlettuce.town

Slug and Lettuce Milton Keynes
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.miltonkeynes – 17 September 2007 – 2722

Slug and Lettuce Marlow
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.marlow – 18 November 2009 – 743

Slug and Lettuce Chester
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.chester – 4 April 2009 – 4373

Slug and Lettuce Durham
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.durham – 26 July 2009 – 3294

Slug and Lettuce Southend
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.southend – 8 September 2010 – 1218

Slug and Lettuce Cambridge
http://www.facebook.com/slugandlettuce.cambridge – no timeline – 503

Conclusion – these companies are getting some really good marketing from this abuse of Facebook rules, their fake profiles have been up for years so perhaps the rest of us should do the same? If not, then we should all take the time to click on each one and report it as a fake profile.