Today’s post is a warning. It’s also a reminder to keep diligent about a very important part of library marketing–the security of your social media accounts.

First the warning. There is a new website that allows people to generate fake tweets which look like they come from your library. The website is called Tweeterino and I’m not going to share a link here because I don’t want the site’s url to get crawled by the Google keyword search engine. That would only strengthen its presence on the web. A quick Google search will lead you to it.

This kind of thing scares the you-know-what out of me, if I’m being honest. Internet security is already tough. I wrote a piece on the importance of shoring up your social media accounts with best practices on how to do that. Here’s the truth: most of us think a social media security breach will never happen to us. We couldn’t be more wrong. Imagine the nightmare of having your library’s accounts compromised and someone posting all manner of things IN YOUR LIBRARY’S NAME.

And of course, this new website makes it easier than ever. It appears Tweeterino does not actually post the Tweet to your Library’s Twitter account. It’s merely a clone, not a hack. However, I don’t think it makes much difference. The potential for damage is the same. Someone could post a malicious or fake Tweet while posing as your library. The tendency for people, and the media, to take Tweets as a first-person source of accurate information would be devastating. It’s already happened to celebrities. The story in this link was reported after someone saw a tweet from Rob Kardashian.  Except it wasn’t from Rob… it was from Tweeterino.

Impersonation accounts can damage the reputation your library has worked hard to build. It is the social media equivalent of identity theft. There doesn’t seem to be a way to stop trolls from creating these fake Tweets in your library’s name.  If it happens to here, here’s what should do:

Take a screenshot. You will need the fake Tweet for evidence.

Report the attack to Twitter. The social media platform does take reports of impersonation seriously and has a form to help you start the process. Report it right away. Most people who use the form say Twitter responds within 48 hours.

File a second report with Twitter for trademark or logo violation. Twitter is very responsive to these requests, provided your library logo is trademarked. Trademarking a logo is simple process. You can use the website Legal Zoom and have your library’s logo trademarked for about $200.

And how can you prevent such an attack from happening?

Monitor all mentions of your library on social media. I know this is time-consuming and, to be honest, many organizations–even big-name brands–relax their diligence over time. If you use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social, you can set up monitoring within the software–all have tutorials on how to do that. You can also set up Google Alerts and search the web for a host of other free social listening tools…. there are a wide variety for you to choose from, based on your needs.

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