Instagram Threads: Consumers Exposed to Impersonation Profiles & Counterfeits

  • Brand Protection
Instagram Threads: Consumers Exposed to Impersonation Profiles & Counterfeits

Millions across the globe have flocked to Instagram Threads – the newest social media platform on the block. Many celebrities and high-profile figures have already signed up to the service, after proclaiming that they are “ditching Twitter”.

Meta, Instagram’s parent company, has promised that the platform is safer than the alternatives and takes user privacy incredibly seriously. But, just how safe is it for consumers and brands?

In this blog, we discuss the threats posed on Instagram Threads and the processes and advanced technology you can utilize to combat them.

We cover:

  • What is Instagram Threads?
  • What threats do brands face on Instagram Threads?
  • How can brands protect their IP and consumer safety on Instagram Threads?
  • Corsearch’s end-to-end approach to brand protection

What is Instagram Threads?

Only announced three months ago, Instagram Threads is a new microblogging service offered by Meta. A microblogging platform marries blogging and instant messaging, enabling users to post, share, like and reply to short-form content.

Designed as a direct competitor to Twitter, Threads is being marketed to Instagram’s 2.35 billion- strong user base [1]. Since its launch last week, Threads already boasts over 110 million users – with 5 million of those signing up on its first day.

As with Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and other social media platforms, businesses must be wary of bad actors targeting their brands and consumers with fake products and scams.

Why are brands and consumers at greater risk on Instagram Threads?

Meta has christened Threads as a safer, friendlier version of Twitter, but the lack of protection for brands and rights holders seems to be at odds with this promise. At time of publishing, Meta does not offer a portal or webform for reporting intellectual property infringements on Threads, instead only an email address which is buried on the Terms & Conditions page.

Not only does this put brands at risk, but it also jeopardizes consumer safety with impersonation profiles already operating at scale. A lack of protection is likely to hinder take up by global brands, leaving the platform even riper for impersonation profiles. With no legitimate presence, consumers are likely to be targeted and easily misled by bad actors.

Corsearch has an excellent collaborative relationship with Meta – we can use our inside track to flag infringements and recommend policy/process improvements. But, while Corsearch fully expects Meta to enhance its support for brand owners, this will do little to alleviate the concerns of many brands right now.

Impersonation profiles on Instagram Threads

Businesses need visibility of how bad actors are using brand names in damaging ways on social media. If your business owns unique trademarks and brand names, it’s important to monitor how they’re being used within social media handles and posts – consumers often assume that use of the mark in a handle suggests affiliation or endorsement by the brand owner.

Social media impersonation is an increasingly common practice that involves creating fake social media profiles under the guise of your official brand. They are used by criminals to prey on unsuspecting social media users.

Impersonation profiles will often offer counterfeits, lookalikes, and other products that infringe brand owners’ intellectual property and put consumers at risk.

They can also be used as part of wider scams, sending malware files or links to phishing websites to unsuspecting consumers.

Related blogs:

Brand Protection & Social Media: Tackling Scams & Impersonation

Why Brand Impersonation is Increasing on Twitter & How to Combat It

How can brands protect their IP and consumer safety on Instagram Threads?

Educate consumers on…

1. The warning signs of an impersonation profile

Keep consumers safe by educating them on how spot impersonation profiles, phishing, and other scams.

Key warnings signs to raise awareness of include:

  • Typos in a profile’s name or bio
  • A profile using altered or outdated logos and images
  • A profile that has recently surged in followers – they may be purchasing bot followers
  • Equally, a profile that has a very low number of followers – it’s likely that it was only recently set up
  • Lack of verified badge on a profile – although be wary of recent issues on Twitter with impersonation accounts obtaining verified status
  • Unrelated content being shared by the profile via posts or comments

2. The societal harm of counterfeits

Educating consumer about the societal harms of counterfeits is an important component to any anti-counterfeiting strategy.

Consumers are generally not concerned by the damage inflicted on the brand itself, such as the loss in revenue and erosion of reputation. Instead, they care more about the broader affects such as counterfeit purchases fueling both organized crime and environmental damage.

Storytelling is an extremely effective tool to distance your brand and products from counterfeits. This taps into the idea that consumers – especially members of Gen Z – are increasingly purpose driven and look for authentic and ethical experiences with brands.

Use AI-powered technology to audit and protect your social media presence

In order to review all social media entities associated with your brand, you’ll need to deploy AI-powered technology that scans keywords and imagery at scale. This will enable you to create a managed inventory of active, legitimate accounts and surface unauthorized accounts that exploit your IP.

It is a powerful tool in your arsenal, allowing you to build a picture of your brand’s digital footprint. You can use this data to not only flag dormant or rogue social media accounts for removal, but also recover lost accounts and their followers.

Managing and controlling your brand’s social media presence isn’t a one-off activity, however. To ensure your brand remains protected, Corsearch’s Brand Protection technology features automated monitoring to identify and prioritize new impersonation profiles that use your trademarks and copyright imagery.

Our expert enforcement team then review collected infringing accounts and action for immediate enforcement, with a proven 98% success rate in removing impersonation profiles. If a threatening account and its content remains online after enforcement, our dedicated Platform Relations Team ensures timely escalation.

You should also be aware that certain platforms may suspend, rather than remove, infringing profiles – giving the user an opportunity to remove their violating posts and reoffend later. We therefore continue to monitor for these re-offenders.

Corsearch’s end-to-end approach to brand protection       

Whether you’re focused on social media, marketplaces, websites, app stores, or other channels, Corsearch delivers a comprehensive brand protection strategy that delivers more than just high-numbers of takedowns.

Using our AI-powered technology, our analysts find and prioritize the high-risk threats, before harnessing platform relationships and sophisticated tools to swiftly enforce. Our platform offers real-time reports to help your team prove the value of your program and drive wider business success.

The key difference to other brand protection vendors? By working in partnership with Corsearch, you’ll see a sustained reduction in infringement, increased engagement with your legitimate brand channels, and a return on investment of up to 13x.

Our established process, at a glance –

1. Detect infringement

Automatically collect data at scale to find and monitor threats using Corsearch’s cutting-edge detection capabilities. Our flexible keyword search framework allows you to modify search parameters and stay ahead of evolving threats and infringer behavior.

2. Analyze and prioritize threats

Once we have detected infringements, we use machine learning and image matching technology to assign risk scores so that you can prioritize the greatest threats to your brand. For example, you could focus on visible posts promoting high-quality counterfeits on Instagram Threads, a particular group of trending keywords, or specific brand images used by scammers.

3. Enforce and remove threats

Drive team efficiency and reduce cost with automated, human-reviewed enforcement and takedown processes, leaving infringers no time to act. Leverage Corsearch’s understanding of platform policies and processes to enforce efficiently and at scale.

4. Report impact

Focus on the data, changes, and trends most relevant to your brand for faster reporting and decision making with Corsearch’s advanced analytics dashboards. Elevate reporting and analytics from operational metrics to strategic insights and empower teams to prove the impact of their efforts with built-in data storytelling tools.

Talk to a brand protection expert

Harness Corsearch’s AI-powered solutions and excellent relationship with Meta to swiftly remove counterfeits, impersonation profiles, and other threats found on Threads.

Talk to one of our experts to learn how you can get global visibility of threats across all channels and demonstrate real impact with our expert-led enforcement.