Trolls and fakers on Pinterest

Every time a new social media platform gains any sort of traction with the public - people start abusing it and other people. So it’s no surprise then that Pinterest already has a fair number of trolls and squatters sitting on hiding behind celebrity names and famous brands and trying to pass themselves off as the real deal.
Pinterest, a visual bulletin board service, recently announced a brief policy statement on usernames that hardly clears things up for companies, celebrities, and satirists alike. Is this Michelle Obama? It seems unlikely, that the First Lady’s "Eat As I Say Not As I Eat" section, in which she pins pictures of "Places where I've consumed incredible amounts of calories while campaigning for America to eat healthier."
Meanwhile, there are countless other examples where the likes of Starbucks, Foursquare and others have been squatted on by jokers or malicious trolls.
Brands and celebrities have an invested interest in maintaining the public perception of their names. Erosion of that image damages their ability to make money in the long run, and some companies are required to maintain a vigilance over their names to retain a functioning copyright.
The most popular social networking sites have already come face-to-face with the reality that early adopters will claim names, identities, and brands that may not truly belong to them. But the way each site deals with instances that could involve accusations of libel, bartering user names for money, or other unsanctioned uses of social networking property, has varied.
Twitter uses the Verified account to denote celebrities, and allows parody accounts but will shut down impersonating accounts. Facebook requires real names with some narrow exceptions. Google+ originally required real names, but now will support pseudonyms, and also verifies celebrities' accounts.
Pinterest seems to still be coming to terms with the issue, even as its popularity grows. This has pretty much been the case for most social media platforms who have evolved terms and conditions to address squatters as their sites have evolved and morphed over time.
The most famous instance of Pinterest misnaming is Mitt Romney. His campaign pursued the shutdown of a fake (though pretty clearly satirical) account using his name. Pinterest itself says: "Pinterest respects the trademark rights of others.
 Accounts with usernames, Pin Board names, or any other content that misleads others or violates another’s trademark may be updated, transferred or permanently suspended." Those who feel their usernames have been affected can register a complaint via Pinterest's Trademark Complaint Form where they say: "Pinterest will review your submission and take whatever action, in its sole discretion, it deems appropriate, including temporary or permanent removal of the trademark from the Pinterest site."
The key thing here for brands is to stay on top of your social media and ensure you are an early adopter for the new, new thing. Or, at the very least, be prepared to take action if you think your brand is being abused. Anyway you can check out some daft spoof Pinterests here.

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