In 2010, Mashable launched the inaugural Social Media Day, and tomorrow 30th June sees its sixth anniversary. The landscape has moved on in the intervening years; today, more than ever, social media is fully intertwined with our everyday lives.
UK-based social media listening company Brandwatch prvoides the latest statistics: there are 2.3 billion active social media users, with each one having an average of over five different social media accounts.
We all know that much use of social media networks is for keeping in touch with friends or the latest trends. The level of engagement from consumers with i+dividual brands varies wildly according to individual platforms and brand related content, but there’s no doubt that more marketing investment is being pointed towards social media – these networks earned $8.3 billion dollars from advertising in 2015.
For consumers, the familiarity and trust with which they interact with social media platforms is key to their ongoing use. They’re more likely to trust the content found on social media; they have a sense of belonging that fosters a less suspicious attitude to content – and this is especially true where access comes through mobile devices.
However, as we well know, all is not always what it seems. Counterfeiters use social media as a key part of their strategy to find buyers for their wares on a global basis. Fraudulent profiles, misleading content and the use of trademarked and copyrighted material are all endemic. Counterfeiters use some very basic and very effective tactics to attract traffic and make sales, using social media as a free advertising platform to lure consumers to specially constructed websites to sell them fake products, trick them out of personal details – or both.
How big is the problem? Bigger than you may think. According to www.statisticbrain.com, there are 81 million fake Facebook profiles. There are also 1.5 billion active monthly Facebook users. That’s a lot of users in a trusted environment being exposed to a lot of fraudulent profiles and content. Caveat utilitor.