The ever-evolving FacebookGate — a scheme uncovered two years ago wherein companies outside of higher education create official-looking groups to attract incoming freshman — is back.
These unofficial groups have become a problem in recent years because of the potential to confuse an audience and dilute an institution’s brand. Several higher education colleagues have tackled the issue in recent days.
Combating the problem is a challenging one, but I thought Michael Fienen put it best:
“What we can do is help people be smart. We can give them good resources. By being good community members ourselves, we’ll be doing our students and supporters the best service that can be expected.”
In an effort to further spread awareness and offer practical advice, I’m posting a link to Facebook’s DCMA Notice of Copyright Infringement.
Most of the unofficial groups don’t contain hate speech, violence or pornography, so it doesn’t make much sense to report them through the normal “Report Group” function.
However, most do include an unsanctioned use of a university logo. If the unofficial group contains a logo in violation of copyright laws, Facebook’s DCMA Notice of Copyright Infringement could be your best bet.
Here’s what the form requests:
- Name, mailing address, telephone, e-mail
- Identify the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed.
- Identify the content on our site that you claim infringes your copyright.
- Where does the infringing content appear on our site? Please provide URLs to help us locate the content you are reporting.
- How does the content infringe your rights?
I realize reporting the unofficial groups isn’t going to make the problem go away, but if it could be one step in creating a solution, I’m all for it.
Additional reading on the topic:
- Dealing with Fake Facebook Groups – by Michael Fienen of .eduGuru
- Facebook, Trust and RoomSurf.com – by Georgy Cohen
- Coming together: Colleges unite to fight Facebook fraud – by Tim Nekritz
- Three years of Facebook Forgery – by J.D. Ross
- Facebookgate all over again – by Andrew Careaga