22 November 2009

Fake (?) Waltraud Meier profile on Facebook removed

From the first day the Waltraud Meier profile on Facebook appeared I suspected that the profile was fake. The publishing of WM's private email address being the most obvious hint that this was a fake profile. As time went by and hundreds of people became "friends" with "Waltraud Meier", there never came anything to suggest that it was Waltraud Meier, her assistant or her PR agency (if she uses one) that was behind the profile.

Anyone can make a profile on Facebook. Anyone can call themself what they want, impersonating whoever they want. A lot of fake profiles have been made, and are being made every day. Many artists feel vulnerable to this situation, and dislike that their fans are being mislead. Some impersonators of pop/rock stars have even taken advantage of young fans.

My advice to anyone being more or less famous is to take control over their name/brand, not only on Facebook, but the whole Internet. This would mean having an official homepage, making a group or fan page on Facebook and make an official Twitter account. Your Twitter account can be verified. And please inform the Internet users what is real and what is fake. It would be important to make sure that there is no doubt that the information is coming from the real person.

It's all about controlling your brand (your name), and - not least - controlling the information about your brand and assure the quality of that information. Whether you see this as good marketing or just care about the information about you on the web, the solution is in your hands.

Thomas Hampson has a very professional web presence, and on his homepage he has links to his Facebook page.

Here you can report fake Facebook profiles:

Thomas Hampson on Facebook
Kirsten Flagstad Museum on Facebook
Friends of Wagneropera.net on Facebook
Berliner Philharmoniker on Facebook

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