Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PM Facebook Entry Fraudulent

By SVG Today Correspondent on 4/20/10

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves does not have a Facebook account and said that he did not authorize anyone to set up one for him.

Speaking after a press conference held at Cabinet Room on Monday, the PM said that he was told by his daughter Isis a few months ago that he was on Facebook. He added that she even brought up the page and showed him how many friends he had.

“I have never created a Facebook profile,” stressed Gonsalves, adding “as a matter of fact I am not on any of the other social networks either.”

The PM said that he does not know, “who set up the profile”, But seemed carefree about the fictitious profile. He added, “they even have some of my information wrong like for instance where I went to school”.

The Vincentian Prime Minister is not the first regional Prime Minister to have a profile set up for him that he did not authorize. In an article published online by the Nation News on March third this year, Natasha King, Press secretary to Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson, made it clear that the online Facebook profile for Thompson, which has photos of the Prime Minister at various events, and has more than 500 friends, is “fraudulent”.

Our local Prime Minister’s page has some 190 friends. He also has a fan page with 1,230 fans. The fan page has links to youtube that when clicked on, brings up information on the International Airport Development Corporation (IADC).

The PM’s page claims that he is a member of the groups, “PASSIONATE LABOUR/SOUFRIERE CONCERN GROUP; OUR AFRIKAN HERITAGE MAGAZINE; Walter Rodney and Acadia Caricom Society”. Also, the profile says that the PM is a fan of 13 other Facebook groups, including Barrack Obama, MeggawattZ Productions and I Love St.Lucia.

The PM’s Press Secretary Hans King said during a telephone interview on Wednesday that the PM is not really troubled about the profile and has not informed him of any actions to be taken to get the profile removed from Facebook.

“This may have been done by one of our supporters and once it is not being used to do anything bad I don’t think it’s a problem”, said King.

The PM’s friend page is blocked and persons wishing to become friends have to first await a friend confirmation from the user. However, the Ralph Everard Gonsalves fan page does not require a friend request be made or confirmation of the request; anyone can join.

An internet document says that Facebook makes it fairly easy to report a fake profile.

It goes, “if you already have a Facebook account simply visit the Facebook “Report a Fake Profile” page and enter the requested information. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can ask a friend that does have an account to report the fake page on your behalf. Alternatively, you can send an email to “login@facebook.com”. Briefly explain that a fake profile has been created in your name and provide your contact information so that a member of the Facebook support team may contact you to investigate the matter further”.

It adds, “someone setting up a fake Facebook profile in your name may be a sign of even more serious identity theft”.