Imaginary Friends

Walter posted this to the Social software intellectuals tribe (hey, I didn’t make up the name…):

"Fraudsters:" pro, con, indifferent?
I'd be curious to hear what you all think about individuals with profiles that aren't pegged to their actual persona. If someone creates a "Cheez Whiz" or "George Washington" identity, what do they bring to the party? Do they reduce the value/utility of the network as a whole? Discuss.   

To which I replied:

Can you imagine LinkedIn with Jesus?

Friendster always seemed more light-hearted, so why not leave the Fraudsters.

Also, kind of depends on how you link. If you link often/casually, then "fake" profiles are no big deal. If you tend to link sparsley/deeply, you'll skip over those.

I can't, at the moment, think of how Fraudsters might harm a network, other than by consuming some infinitesmal bit of resources.


And then there was this article from SFWeekly. It’s a long discussion of fraudsters/fakesters, including talking with the creator of Friendster, Jonathan Abrams. Friendster is taking a very hard-line stance:

Friendster aims to take down not only fakesters' phony pictures but also those of "realsters" who post images other than of their own faces. That means users who prefer visual anonymity are out of luck -- like a friend of mine who pictures his cat on Friendster because he'd once been recognized on the street from his original Friendster profile and didn't like it.


Ridiculous. Sounds like a company whose business plan got screwed up, and doesn’t know what to do about it. I have a picture of some monkeys in my photo album on Tribe…I could make that my image. And what about people that like having a quirky Photoshop face?