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Twitter Impersonator

   May 13th, 2010

Twitter Suspended logoA funny thing happened to me on Twitter - someone started impersonating me.

What? I'm not famous. I know there's more than one person with my name, so I wasn't too surprised to see another Brian Herzog start following me. But when I clicked into the profile to see read their tweets, it turned out that someone had duplicated my account. Their username was @syuhaedah, but were using my name, the same bio line and same location - the only difference was their website was a tinyurl (which I never clicked, but was able to preview).

It kind of freaked me out, so here are the steps I took:

  1. Click the "report as spam" link in the email from Twitter you get when someone starts following you
  2. Read their Privacy Violations and How to Report Spam pages
  3. Found Twitter's Impersonation Policy and opened a ticket to report it

Within a few hours I got a follow-up response from Twitter, and by the next day that account had been suspended. I feel bad bringing the hammer down like that, but it definitely felt like a spambot or other violation of both me and Twitter.

And how bizarre - I can see when someone sets up a fake Barack Obama or Conan O'Brien Twitter account, but me? So, be careful with both your own identity and that of your organizations.

I got lucky in that this account started following me, or else I may have never known about it. I guess I'll start to periodically use Twitter's Find People and Advanced Search (with operators) to check for this sort of thing.

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4 Responses to “Twitter Impersonator”

  1. Liz Says:

    Wow – I’m sorry about that, but very impressed by Twitter’s seasonable response. Like you needed another reason to be paranoid, right? ;D

  2. Anne Says:

    Bizarre. My husband had that happen to him once, with his music blog. Different blog name, identical posts…

    There are times when it’s okay not to feel bad about dropping the hammer!

  3. LiteralLibrarian Says:

    I’ve received a couple of strange emails from people I follow on Twitter whose accounts have been hijacked. I just emailed them directly to let them know and I think they did the same as you and got the hijacker suspended.

  4. Michelle Says:

    That’s too freaking weird. And scary. I’ve heard of a small/local non profit who had this problem on FB and FB wasn’t nearly as fast in responding.