Many of the profiles that we connect with in this virtual world, are ones where the relationship is based wholly on trust. The details, images, events and messages that are shared are taken at face value. However; there appears to be a new, dark side to the face of social media, which plays on this trust and calls for us to be less trusting and not quite so willing to take information at face value.
The phenomenon of Catfish, commonly seen as the term referring to the practice of using other people's photographs when looking for relationships on the net, would seem to be on the increase.
This week has seen two cases hit the headlines. First the curious case of Leah Palmer, who according to her social media profiles is an:
“Attractive, single, fun-loving 20-something Briton currently living the high life in Dubai.
She has an active social-media presence and often chats with family and friends on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”
The truth, however, is that Leah Palmer does not exist and the profile images are of a woman called Ruth Palmer. These social media profiles, have been using images of her, her family & friends for the past three years, without her knowledge. Read More
Then there is the case of Jon Will Chambers whose image had been used across a number of social media accounts; including teenage forums, Facebook, Twitter and Google+; with one online contact talking with “him” for four years.
The term comes from a 2010 documentary entitled Catfish. There is now also an MTV series, which clearly demonstrates that the reasons for catfish activity are varied. However, one thing that is clear, is that it is not always clear who we are talking to.