By @TheMarkDalton

Fake social media accounts have become common place online. Set up by trolls to bully and abuse innocent users. It has been a long growing problem over the past number of years with the rise of social media and the offenders believe that they are safe behind the anonymity of a fake profile.

Users who choose to set up fake profiles could now soon face prosecution in the UK under new guidelines being proposed by the Crown Prosecution Service. The new advice being drawn up by prosecutors would mean that users who set up fake profiles to abuse others could be committing offences such as ‘grossly offensive communication.’

Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions said that:

“Offenders can mistakenly think that by using false online profiles and creating websites under a false name their offences are untraceable. Thankfully this is not the case and an online footprint will be left by the offender.”

The new guidelines will also contain advise to prosecutors about revenge porn and other controlling or coercive behaviour on social media.

Fake accounts are not allowed on Facebook. If someone has created a fake account with your name or details then the social network will investigate the matter as soon as it has been reported. Impersonating someone is also a violation of Twitter’s rules and the network says that people caught making accounts in a deceptive manner can be permanently suspended under its impersonation policy. However, users are permitted to create parody, commentary or fan accounts on Twitter which fall under a separate policy.

The difference here is that malicious accounts online setup to target individuals will be taken as seriously as any other form of criminal activity. The CPS is holding a 10 week consultation period with the public to see if there is anything more people feel needs to be done.

There is still some concern that forcing everyone to use their real names online could lead to certain individuals being more open to abuse, however as many of us will be aware by now, there are very few ways to hide online and if someone wants to find you they will do so.

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