Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them
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Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them
Oh, that guy you met online who models for GQ and runs a baby kola sanctuary in his spare time? Yeah, he’s probably not who he says he is. With the rise of MTV’s show Catfish, it’s pretty shocking that people actually believe lies similar to this from people they’ve never met face-to-face with. Nev Shulman, the show’s creator receives thousands of emails from people begging him to help them connect with their online romances. The show always follows a similar pattern. The online lovers always are hesitant or holding back from a face-to-face meeting. Some big secret or form of deception is revealed upon their meeting, and tears soon follow. Not surprisingly, very few of the people on the show end up happily ever after. But how can this happen? How do these people so blindly believe these ridiculous online personas without giving them so much as a quick Google? On the flip side, what compels someone to create a new identity online in order to “catfish” others into a romance? These are the question I sought to answer through my research. Whether it’s something as extreme as creating a fake identity or as miniscule as lying about one’s weight, one thing is clear, people tend to be deceitful on some level online. From these articles, it is clear to see that the Internet provides an avenue for people to produce the best versions of themselves. They can lie about their weight or simply choose not to disclose that information, for example. That is the part of the appeal for some to be deceitful online. They can be whoever they want to be. They can live out a second life in which their fantasies feel real. They can post a picture of a model with abs and get the girl they’ve always dreamed of. Because the person isn’t in front of them, they don’t have to even feel guilty about the lies they tell. Another reason why people lie or create fake personas online is to compensate for something lacking in real life, whether it’s looks, a good paying job, or a lack of confidence. It’s all about controlling what information is shown. My research shows that people are well aware of all of this deceit, so why are they so niave to believe in an online romance too good to be true? It has to do a lot with human nature. Humans want to believe strangers are trustworthy like they are so they do. Positive past experiences lead people to believe that strangers are in general trustworthy. If we wouldn’t deceive, how can someone else do it to us? Another reason why people are so easily duped is because emotions get involved. Much like in real life, when we are in love, thinking logically is often thrown out the window in favor of how we feel. People are getting more intimate and communicating on deeper levels faster than ever with new technology. They are falling in love quicker. Some idealizing is also going on with the victims of this deceit. They are so captivated with the fantasy surrounding the other person that they fail to see the red flags. They only see the things that reinforce their ideal version of the person.
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MTV's Catfish: The Digital Pen-Pal Syndrome

MTV's Catfish: The Digital Pen-Pal Syndrome | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
It doesn't surprise me that singles looking for love online on MTV's Catfish have their hopes at an all-time high, but I wonder, why wait so long to meet in real life if you think you've found your soul mate?
Shauna G's insight:

This article talks about how people that aren't willing to use video chat or to meet in person probably have something to hide. The author questions why so many don't bother with checking someone out with a quick Google or demanding a video chat. The point she makes is that people need to stop being so wrapped up in the fantasy and really check out people before falling in love. Use the tools the internet provides. 

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The Anatomy of a Catfish | The Manti Te’o Hoax: 5 Reasons People Create Fake Girlfriends (According to ‘Catfish’) | TIME.com

The Anatomy of a Catfish | The Manti Te’o Hoax: 5 Reasons People Create Fake Girlfriends (According to ‘Catfish’) | TIME.com | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
The 'Catfish' TV show, which introduces viewers to the people on both sides of online identity hoaxes, provides insight into why they do what they do
Shauna G's insight:

This highlights some of the reasons people have catfished ranging from revenge to not being accepted in their community. This points to having a fake persona as being a way to cope with low self esteem. Wanting attention is another reason this article points to. 

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Online Dating as Scientific Research

Online Dating as Scientific Research | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Online dating profiles show how attraction, trust and deception play into the quest for romance.
Shauna G's insight:

This article talks about the small lies people tell on dating sites. They argue that people tell these lies in order to impress who they perceive as their audience. This reinforces the idea that people post the best versions of themselves online in order to convey their ideal self

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'Catfishing:' The phenomenon of Internet scammers who fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into romantic relationships

'Catfishing:' The phenomenon of Internet scammers who fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into romantic relationships | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Whether it's out of revenge, loneliness, curiosity or boredom, an emerging class of Internet predators cite dozens of reasons for scamming their way into romantic relationships with unsuspecting victims seeking love online.
Shauna G's insight:

This article talks about some examples from both the show Catfish as well as from real life involving being deceived by a fake online persona. Some people do it out of spite or have a malicious intent in duping someone. Others do it because they’re afraid the other person won’t accept their flaws.

 

While all of these different deceivers used their profiles for different reasons, they all were happy with the way that they could control how the other person perceived them. That is one of the main reasons why people “catfish” others.

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Why would someone create a fake online personality?

Why would someone create a fake online personality? | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Psychologists explain what motivates people to create false personas online in light of Manti Te'o's disclosure that he was the victim of a hoax
Shauna G's insight:

This article answers the big question of why people feel the need to create fake personas. It argues that people like the idea of living in a fantasy and their “ideal” life, which they can create online. The Internet also provides a way for them to use that fake persona in order to pursue someone that they feel might reject them in real life. They may be creating the persona to make up for something they lack in real life.

 

Interestingly, this article also discusses how those who are deceived don’t bother to check their online romance for legitimacy because they are too captivated with the attention they are receiving. Much like in real life, their emotional involvement may cloud their judgment.

 

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'Catfish' and the Truth About Our False Online Selves

'Catfish' and the Truth About Our False Online Selves | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
The critic Jon Caramanica and the Internet culture columnist Jenna Wortham examine issues of trust and self raised by the MTV show “Catfish.”
Shauna G's insight:

This article brings up a good point about how there is a potential troll in all of us and that it comes out much easier online. It’s easier to be open and honest online, but it’s also easier to lie.

 

It discusses a recent episode of Catfish in which a girl’s best friend created a fake persona online to lure her out of what she considered to be a downward spiral. This fabricated online romance was only way she felt that she could honestly reach out to her friend.  It brings up the idea that deceitful people feel less vulnerable online.

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'Fake' Online Love Affair Becomes Legal Battle

'Fake' Online Love Affair Becomes Legal Battle | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Illinois woman sued for allegedly creating fake online romance.
Shauna G's insight:

This is interesting because it discusses possible legal ramifications for creating a fake profile and deceiving them. The person who was duped said she couldn’t believe that someone would create such an elaborate hoax so that’s why she believed the person for so long. 

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Hancock_DigitalDeception.pdf

Shauna G's insight:

This brings up the point that deception occurs commonly both offline and online. The question remains, which place does it occur more? The author argues that deception occurs more commonly face-to-face than online, according to a recent study. This shows that people are deceitful in general, regardless of the environment.

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Generation Naïve: Why Young People Can’t Help Falling for Strangers Online

Generation Naïve: Why Young People Can’t Help Falling for Strangers Online | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Why Manti Te’o is the new normal, by Caitlin Dickson.
Shauna G's insight:

This source also explains how people are blinded by emotions with those they meet online. In face-to-face communication people look for cues in order to distinguish between truth and lies. Online, there is no way to distinguish from fact and fiction in that way. They fill in the blanks of any questionable information themselves, rather than think logically. They look for cues to confirm their ideal version of the person, rather than see the red flags.

 

Human beings trusting of strangers also has to do with personal experience. This article argues that people trust strangers so readily because they’ve experienced more good outcomes from trusting strangers.

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07Caspi.pdf

Shauna G's insight:

This study shows that people who deceive online feel little stress or remorse for doing so, which was attributed to the fact that hiding behind a computer makes it easier to deceive others. They didn’t view the person on the other side of the screen as a person, but as an object.

 

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Why it's really possible to fall in love online

Why it's really possible to fall in love online | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
Shauna G's insight:

 The Internet has made falling in love easier than it ever has been according to this article. It discusses how it enables couples to have lengthy deep conversations in order to know each other better than in the past. In the past it may have taken couples months of face-to-face communication to get to know each other. Now it can be done over a day of texting or chatting online. It provides a fast avenue for people to “fall in love,” whether the person is real or not.

 

It also brings up a good point about the ugly side of online romance. The Internet allows us to present the best versions of ourselves and makes it easier to lie. 81% of online daters said they’ve lied about something on their profile, meaning that most people are being deceitful in some way. 

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‘Catfishing’ reels in unsuspecting folks with fake online personas

‘Catfishing’ reels in unsuspecting folks with fake online personas | Fake Online Identities and the People Who Believe Them | Scoop.it
“Catfishing” could stake claim as an early favorite for word of the year, but its newfound publicity could bring bad news for Internet hoaxsters trying
Shauna G's insight:

This article discusses the appeal of “catfishing” and how easy it is for some people to do. The author argues that people like using a fake online persona because it gives them a chance to live a “second life,” without feeling guilty about it. It’s harder to feel guilty about something if it’s behind a computer screen and not right in front of you. That’s what makes it so easy to lie.

 

As far as those who are being deceived are concerned, this source says that people so readily believe that others aren’t deceitful because they want to believe that others out there are similar to how they are. For example, if they think “I would never lie to someone,” they foolishly believe others out there are the same way.

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