Disability Fakebook


What is happening. Why you should care. How you can help.

There are 93 million fake profiles on Facebook. That is not the problem I refer to. The problem is that within that huge number is a large quantity of profiles created for the sole purpose of locating, harassing, and stalking people with disabilities. That is the problem.
And Facebook has created the perfect tool for the predators to locate their victims. It is called the Friend Finder.

I call these internet predators Disability Trolls because they are literally trolling for people with disabilities with the lure of a fake profile. Usually, this lure consists of the profile of a young attractive wheelchair user or amputee. Next, a description of how she is newly injured and is looking to meet other people with disabilities is added.
The Disability Trolls are relying on several factors to initiate successful contact with real people with disabilities (PWDs). They realize that many people with disabilities are socially shutout and are desperate to share their experiences with others with similar disabilities. They also know that many PWDs want to serve role models and help people with new disabilities. Therefore by pretending to have a new disability, they can initiate “friendships” with disability “veterans”. The Trolls are also relying upon the fact that the majority of PWDs are simply unaware of this threat, and therefore they don’t take measures to protect themselves. The Trolls leverage this initial trust into deeper and more invasive online relationships.

Every teenage girl knows to stay away from the obviously creepy middle-aged man. But a teenage girl with a new spinal cord injury is highly likely to open herself up to a fake profile that assumes the identity of female disability peer. The danger arises when in fact the fake profile is really a middle-aged man with a disability fetish for young women in wheelchairs. This fetish can easily morph into obsessive stalking. Even if the relationship only exists online, the victim will feel violated and have been violated on many levels.
Now that you know what is happening, the next question to be answered is “Why you should care?” You should care because you, your friends, and your peers with disabilities are being systematically victimized and preyed upon. This victimization includes the following:

“Friending” unsuspecting PWDs by predators using fake disability profiles.
Stealing personal photographs of the person and uploading them to disability porn websites.

Repeatedly private messaging PWDs and trying to engage them into intimate discussions revolving around their sexual and personal health issues.
Stalking selected PWDs either online or in person.

Hopefully, by now you have been convinced that this type of behavior is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. Fortunately, the head of Facebook Security recently made the following claim “"On Facebook we have a really large commitment in general to finding and disabling false accounts,"  and "Our entire platform is based on people using their real identities."
Facebook claims that it will remove fake profiles and the offenders will not be allowed to create new profiles. Facebook backs up this claim with an easy reporting feature. It literally takes seconds to report a profile as being either fake or harassing, and block the profile from “seeing” and contacting you.

Once Facebook has been notified of the report, it initiates its own investigation. Happily, the nature of fake profiles makes them easy for Facebook to identify and delete. Real people can also easily “prove” their legitimacy of their profile. Thus, reporting all suspected fake profiles is a simple and effective solution to a serious problem.
People with disabilities are statistically the most likely to be abused, sexually assaulted, bullied, harassed, and victimized. They are also the least likely to report these victimizations due to fear of retribution. Fortunately, reporting the fake profiles can be done anomalously. It provides the opportunity for PWDs to set and enforce limits and boundaries on unwanted behaviors.