Fake Facebook profile was making outrageous claims as Mayor Helps

A fake Facebook profile, set up under Mayor Lisa Helps name, was spreading misinformation and making outrageous claims.

The profile, which featured a picture and banner straight from the Mayor's Twitter page, looked legitimate, asides from the outrageous claims being made.

It's the second time in a matter of months that a fake profile has been created under Helps's name, and she says this profile was particularly troubling, because although the claims of painting all city crosswalks with rainbows and turning churches into mosques are preposterous, the voice being used sounded a lot like her.

"What does trouble us about this one is that it seemed to spread pretty quickly, because it sounded like me.  It's like 'Hey, I'm the Mayor, I'm back on Facebook.  I want to share positivity!'  So the initial post actually sounded like me, it looked like me.  That is very troubling because it wasn't me."

She says she was especially troubled by the fact that someone can easily set up a fake account under a public figure's name.

"We work really hard, both at city hall and with our partners in the media, to share actual information.  We're making a lot of decisions in these chambers, and we do our best to get that information out.  Most troubling is when false information that could look like,  you know people don't read that carefully, maybe it's true.  Then we have to do a whole bunch of work to undo those stories when really what we want to do is work building the city"

She says Facebook should take steps to verify public figures on their platform before letting them establish a profile.

City Staff contacted Facebook as soon as the fake profile was discovered, and it was taken down within a couple hours.

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