In the digital age, it is no wonder that recent estimates show over 4.2 billion people on the planet now use social media. Offering a wealth of online options since its inception, it has since become an industry titan and marketplace in its own right – with brands increasingly turning to social media when marketing online.
Unfortunately however, while such growth presents a compelling opportunity for businesses, as always, where success leads counterfeiters will follow – exploiting social channels to commit crime and target brands. Here’s what to expect – and how to fight back.
Why target social media?
When it comes to any online criminal seeking prospective victims, location and timing is key. Social media offers two key benefits.
Firstly, whether on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, TikTok or more, the ability to target a mass audience via a single app makes it an extremely attractive medium for infringers.
Secondly, while leading e-commerce marketplaces or physical stores may require extensive seller credentials to operate, the relative anonymity of social media makes for a perfect hiding ground – allowing infringers to ensnare victims at a lower risk.
What are the risks?
The scams on offer cover a wide array of cybercrimes, including identity theft, brand impersonation and, of course, good old fashioned counterfeits. If that weren’t enough, more enterprising criminals may even build fan bases to become would-be online influencers, using their popularity to promote fake goods or fraudulent websites in a bid to make more money.
But the dangers to consumers and brands go far further than losing out financially. Indeed, when it comes to fake products, the real risks are endless.
To start with, unlike real products, counterfeits do not go through rigorous safety tests. In practice, this means that, assuming you receive the item you ordered, your fake charger is a likely hazard, along with that toxic blusher or dangerous children’s toy.
Due to these considerable risks, brands risk a reputational minefield – even when the harm is caused by a fraudster or bad counterfeit. Consequently, a proactive approach is critical, with businesses and social media organisations needing to tackle these crimes and fight back against criminals using popular platforms to scam individuals.
In France, law enforcement has taken some encouraging steps in this direction, with upcoming proposals geared at targeting unscrupulous influencers. This new legislation, which is currently being reviewed by the government, aims to “fight against scams and abuses by influencers on social media”.
As we await their verdict, we hope other countries may follow suit, ensuring that consistent action can be taken against fraudulent influencers worldwide.
What can be done?
While the encouraging likes of France indicate gradual change, until social media regulation is fully mandated and enforced, it is critical brands take proactive steps to protect themselves from the damage posed by social media scams.
As an experienced brand protection agent, SnapDragon can act as your brand’s first line of defence in this fight.
Whether it’s a fake product or brand impersonation account set up by someone pretending to be your business or even your CEO, social media scams can seriously harm businesses and consumers. From a loss of revenue through to reputational damage and even the risk of litigation, the consequences of inaction are simply too severe for brands to ignore.
Thanks to our brand protection service, we offer a dedicated tool and strategy to help tackle counterfeits, IP infringements and brand impersonation attacks worldwide – including on social media.
Using our revolutionary Swoop technology and team of brand analysts, we scan online platforms so you don’t have to, identifying suspect infringements and brand misuse, working to monitor, enforce and remove threats before they cause untold harm.
For more information on how we can keep your brand safe on social media, please get in touch now.