App helps users tell whether new Facebook friends are real

By June 20, 2014

Although the internet is a tremendous platform for networking and for connecting socially, it can also be a privacy and safety minefield.

Now, an app is helping to clear some of that danger away on Facebook.

FakeOff uses a sophisticated algorithm to investigate the behavior of suspect “friends” and rank them according to a credibility score.

According to recent studies, between 10-20% of Facebook’s more than 1.35 billion users are inauthentic, their purported identities either wholly constructed or stolen.

“It’s important to recognize that there is a real threat, but this is not about being paranoid or hysterical. That’s not what we’re about at FakeOFF. If anything, it’s the opposite. What FakeOFF offers is the confidence to be able to explore social media and enjoy all the wonderful things it has to offer without worrying about being preyed upon. We let the system take care of the due diligence, so that you can rest easy knowing that you or your kids are being safe on the internet.”

Sachar came up with the idea for FakeOFF after realizing that he himself had been the victim of fraud. “Nothing bad came out of it,” he explains, “but even just knowing that I had let this fake person into my life gave me this sense of having been violated. It opened my eyes to how easy it is to impersonate someone online, and how many different illicit uses that ability can be put toward.”

“There are any number of reasons why someone would want to create a fake profile for themselves,” explains Shachar. “Some of them are relatively harmless, but in the bad cases — whether it’s a pedophile posing as a minor, or someone looking to plant a bug and invade your computer, or a physical burglar hoping to take advantage of the next time they see you posting vacation shots — there is a very real danger that people need to be protected from. Regardless of the motive, I’m a firm believer that everyone has the right to know who it is they’re dealing with.”

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