Protecting your brand on social media - an expert opinion

Protecting your brand on social media - an expert opinion

Digital marketing and online reputation experts say any legitimate business and news source should consider verifying their accounts on social media.   

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Duplicate accounts emerged of news sources such as Radio 702, the Sunday Times and the Huffington Post SA at the weekend - with the same brand name and design - bearing a slight difference to the Twitter handle of the original account. 

In response to the content shared on these profiles, the National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has called for an investigation - saying a rise in these accounts may compromise the way in which readers approach news.

Huffington Post fake account

Twitter's policy states that the bio of any parody account should clearly indicate to the intended audience that the user is not affiliated with the original account by using words such as 'parody', 'fake' or 'commentary'. 

Secondly, the name should not be exactly the same as as that of the main account. 

Reiterating this, CEO of Ditiglab and digital marketing expert, Mike Saunders says parody accounts should openly state that they are parodies such that social media users can discern that the information shared is essentially untrue. He says the onus is also on the consumer. 

"Every social media user has a responsibility of what ends up on their timeline because we curate and create our own timeline. Every social network gives one the opportunity to be able to block or report anything we don't like. 

"We have become complacent and accept that certain content just ends up being on online platforms. If diligent enough to be able to report this, the very nature of what is on your timeline will then start to change," he said. 

Meanwhile, online reputation analyst with Cerebra, Claire Volker says there are a few crucial factors that are considered before a fake social media account is suspended. Listen below. 

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