It’s understandable that companies want to use Facebook to promote stuff – it is after all very big – and with almost a half of BBC staff on there, it’s obvious that they should use it to promote services, programme and events.

What is annoying is when people who don’t understand social networking blunder in. Facebook has worked so far because of its “honesty” (real names, needing verified email addresses to become part of some networks) – it’s ceded to demand for entities other than people by the creation of “fan” pages/profiles, and has for a long time had groups and events.

So it’s annoying to find our national broadcaster (or well-meaning, but ill-informed staff therein – they have to have verifiable BBC email addresses to be in the network they are) creating fake person profiles for services or other stuff. Here are just a few I’ve found by just a quick search (after I stumbled across a few in friends’ profiles):

Fake BBC Profiles

When the Beeb gets the social web right (Backstage, Flickr stuff, plenty more I’m sure) it’s a great thing. Letting people think it’s okay to create all this “white noise” on the social web isn’t.

I’m sure many other organisations have done this too – I just think the Beeb should set an example.

Discalimer: I used to work for the BBC (although I’d have been just as annoyed about it when I worked there – and would of been able to tell the people more easily).

6 Responses

  1. Hi Jon. Thanks for this. Part of my job involves encouraging and sometimes policing teams who wish to develop propositions using non bbc sites in this way. You’re right this not only breaks Facebook’s terms of conditions but also the internal guidance (we should be publishing this soon) we use to help teams work in this way. mmmm.
    Facebook groups and apps (and the BBC uses these as well) would work a lot better here.
    There’s clearly no intention to deceive here but its certainly a bit clumsy and not ideal. I’ll go back to towers and see what i can do.
    Thanks for being nice about backstage and the nod for Britain in Pictures.

  2. “It’s a fairly innocent mistake.” – yeah, and hardly earth shattering either, I’d just rather people used tools properly. Groups/Fan Pages are far better – and are made specially for – this sort for thing.

  3. I wonder when/if Facebook will start deleting these incorrect profiles or if they’re too scared of offending and deterring major corporations from using their website…

    I also don’t like seeing ridiculous nicknames being used as real names. Sure, shorten names but who really would name their child Buttface?

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