Last month, LaQuishe "Q" Wright told me that of all the social media platforms her A-List clients frequent, Messenger presents some of the biggest problems. Specifically, it's where the social media manager encounters the most fake accounts — including ones masquerading as the celebrities she represents — who attempt to rip off unsuspecting fans.
A large part of the burden for dealing with these fraudulent accounts falls on the user: Wright needs to report the ones she hears about from fans, and also track down and report new ones on her own. The entire process is frustratingly time-consuming, especially since reporting within Messenger has, up to this point, been limited: You could report conversations by going through Messenger on the web (as opposed to the app) or using Facebook's reporting process.
Today, Messenger is releasing new tools designed to make it easier to report conversations that violate its Community Standards. This includes conversations with someone who is pretending to be someone else, as well as ones with harassment or hate speech.
When there's a conversation you want to report, tap the name of the person or group within that message. Select "Something's Wrong" from the menu and choose the correct category to file the report under. The options include harassment, suicide or self-injury, unauthorized sales, hate speech, pretending to be someone, sharing inappropriate things, and others. You can specify further details within each category.
For example, if you select "pretending to be someone else" you can identify who the person is pretending to be — yourself, a friend, a celebrity, or the more ambiguous fake account. After submitting your report, you will receive confirmation that it was received, at which point it will be reviewed internally. Facebook says reports are reviewed 24/7, most within a 24-hour window.
While the new tools do nothing to fight the number of fake accounts that are popping up, they do empower you, the user, to take control and report them more quickly.