Globe Telecom recently issued a public advisory on Twitter to interact only with its authorized Globe Community Managers. The warning came after the telco giant uncovered the proliferation of impostor Twitter accounts posing as its customer service representatives that impersonate Globe Community Managers and try to elicit personal data from Globe subscribers or urge them to switch to its rival network. The fake accounts went up in the popular networking site a few days after Globe made public its new service team to support Talk2Globe, the official Globe service channel on Twitter and Facebook.This event is by far not isolated. Online impersonation has been a huge problem in the internet after its mainstream usage. The best thing a company can do is detect and control the situation at the earliest possible point. Netizens are also advised to be wary of such events, especially if users or company representatives are acting questionably.
“It’s a shameful act that certainly does not have the best interest of the public in mind,” said Peter Bithos, Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business. “We would like to assure our customers that Globe has taken the necessary steps to curb this and protect them from fraudsters. We filed a report to Twitter and have successfully brought down and removed the fake accounts,” added Bithos.
The impostors will pose as Globe online specialists @PeejOfGlobe and @KenOfGlobe, copying the official Globe Twitter handles or layouts, and misleading Globe subscribers into transacting with them through Twitter for customer service requirements. The fake accounts would even encourage Globe subscribers to avail of rival network services instead.
The impostor @PeejGlobe for example, tweets to Globe subscribers “We suggest to shift to the rival network as they have more stocks than us,” or “hi maybe kulang ka sa dokumento we suggest you try sundroid or iphone 5 (name of other network).” @KenOfGl0be on the other hand tries to obtain personal information from subscribers through messages like “What is your location so we can refer this issue to our technical teams.”
Impersonating a Twitter account is tantamount to stealing personal information which is a violation of the provisions under Republic Act 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012. The law was specifically created to protect the fundamental human right of privacy of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth.
Bithos said, “Aside from violating an existing Philippine law, this unethical act also goes against the self-regulatory discipline that allowed social media and social networking sites to flourish. Die-hard Netizens will not tolerate this.”
Despite these attempts to undermine customer assistance in Globe, Bithos was confident this will not have an impact on the company’s growth momentum. “We continue to focus in taking up market share despite a very challenging market. Particularly for our Postpaid business, our numbers are fantastic – double-digit growth in subscribers year on year. Globe Postpaid subscribers are now over 1.7 million, increasing 19% as of end 2012. We keep the momentum strong and continue to come up with even better product offerings in true challenger spirit,” Bithos explains.