FROM THE BLOG

Facebook Fakes Fumble on Texas, Queensland

The ABC reports that the tiny town of Texas, Queensland has become home to hundreds of Facebook fake identities. Speculating that it is all due to auto-suggestion protocols online, when users are setting up a fake profile on Facebook, it appears that the Aussie town comes up as a third option for places in Texas. Many of these fake identities are involved in pro- President Trump postings on Facebook. Texas, QLD only has a population of some 900 people, but boasts hundreds of profiles of US military personnel who claim to be from there. Facebook fakes fumble on Texas, Queensland.

Fake News Alive & Well on Facebook

Fake news is alive and well on Facebook. The ABC provided details of 218 of these fake profiles to Facebook and most of them were taken down within a few days. Since then, another batch of 19 has popped up, as new profiles of US military personnel from, you guessed it, Texas, QLD. It sounds like a poorly programmed bot or poorly educated folk employed, probably offshore, by unscrupulous social media manipulators, perhaps on behalf of Trump interests. It is not the locals in Texas, QLD, committing these fraudulent activities. The ABC identified pro-Trump interests, love site scammers, and get-rich-quick scammers, using these fake identities online for their nefarious activities.

Locals Unaware of the Ruse

If all these US military types, sexy women and successful investors did all live in this tiny town on the Dumaresq River in the southern parts of the Darling Downs, it would be a pretty happening place. The ABC pointed to the fact that Lee Kernaghan, apparently, put Texas on the map via his country music classic of the same name. The song’s lyrics stereotypically reveal that it is a one-horse town. Lester Dawson, the editor of the local newspaper, was unaware of the Facebook ruse and its links to his town, until informed by the ABC News reporter.

Social Media Replacing the Real World

Social media is rapidly replacing the real world for many folks around the globe and it is becoming increasingly important to view the online realm with a great deal of scepticism. It is also paramount that traditional media, like the ABC, continue to scrutinise platforms like Facebook and call them to account. Governments are failing to do this job, both here and in America. If Trump in the White House is, seemingly, making use of fake news for his own purposes, he may be the President who cried “wolf”, once too often.