Pernille Tranberg

Use a fake name on Facebook

by Janus Boye
September 5, 2012
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: No Comments

Royals, artists and other famous people have long used pseudonyms on Facebook. Might it be time for the general public to consider something similar to better protect themselves?

European Union Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding has said that “personal data is in today’s world the currency of the digital market” and called for better protection, including a “right to be forgotten“, in particular designed at helping teenagers and young adults manage their online reputations.

Facebook (and many others) are watching

As a consumer you are constantly tracked in the digital world – most often without noticing or knowing about it – and not just on Facebook. At home, at work, at school. Where you’re jogging or dating, shopping or searching, streaming music or simply reading something.

Companies feast on your digital identity. They mine, store and sell information about your interests, tastes, religion, age, political belief, health, sexual orientation, even your friends. And they make billions scraping together the pieces of your identity.

In the future, it might be considered a universal human right to have access to and control over your own data, but at the moment there is effectively no legislation in place to protect you.

Fake it on Facebook to protect yourself

Copenhagen-based communication strategist and digital expert Pernille Tranberg and IT correspondent Steffen Heuer have teamed up to write the controversial book Fake It – Your Online Identity Is Worth Gold. The book came out in late August and the main message is that you should separate the ‘professional you’ from the ‘private you’. In the latter case you should consider carefully whether to use your original identity or whether to fake it with pseudonyms.

Facebook and many others have their own rules telling you to use your real name. But your identity and privacy are more important, so you have to perform ‘digital self-defense’ advices the 2 authors.

In a keynote at the J. Boye Aarhus 12 conference in November titled Fake Your Online Identity, Pernille will talk about what is happening, why it is happening and how to take care of your – and thus also your company’s – reputation, and what signs to look for to trust a company.

Do your customers like that you are using their personal data?

Besides the personal perspective, the widespread usage of personal data also has far-reaching implications from a company perspective. In a more transparent world, your brand has suddenly become much more reliant on the social media profiles of its employees.

Also, might there be a point when your customers no longer see the benefit in Facebook selling your data? Could it potentially backfire and cause damage to your reputation?

One of the themes of this year’s conference is “Sharing is Caring”. Yet, we realise that sharing everything without thinking can have grave consequences – so here a keynote that highlights some of the considerations that need to be remembered; by individuals and by organisations.



Leave a Comment

Read our commentary policy.