Facebook cloning harassment dead end in South Africa: report

A Durban woman and her family face ongoing harassment after her Facebook account got cloned – and the social media giant and local authorities are doing nothing to stop it, the Sunday Times reported.

Durbanite, Lilenthia Soobramoney is one of many people to suffer from dreaded Facebook cloning – a process in which someone copies and sets up a new account using details, photos and other data from unprotected Facebook accounts.

While many of these cloned accounts are used to solicit money from the victm’s friends and family – in Soobramoney’s case, things got nasty.

According to the Sunday Times report, an anonymous “hacker” cloned Soobramoney’s account, and proceeded to harass her friends and family, resorting to crass name-calling and other verbal abuse.

Soobramoney has since tried to stop the abuse through reporting the account to Facebook, but was met with a standard response, while the page remains accessible, the Times said.

A dead end

According to the report, Soobramoney approached the local police authorities on the matter, but they required the identity of the abuser in order to take any action.

Soobramoney was directed to the Magistrate’s Court, which required a land-line number or cellphone number of the abuser.

According to social media law consultant, the only route to stop the abuse would be to apply for a protection order in terms of the Protection from Harassment act.

This order can be attained against an anonymous person, with the chance it could be used in a case to identify said person, the report said.

Protect information

Hundreds of South Africans have reported cases of Facebook cloning from as early as April 2013.

It was previously reported that social networking giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, have implemented various security measures in the wake of growing hacking and cloning reports.

These measures include two-step authentication, and the use of one-time codes with connected mobile devices to make extra sure users and information are protected.

However, data protection is also up to the users, and they should make sure that private data is kept private using the privacy controls on the various platforms.

Security experts also warn against users clicking on foreign links or sharing information with unknown sites and applications.

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Facebook cloning harassment dead end in South Africa: report