top of page
Social Media at Law Logo.gif
  • Writer's picturePeter DiSilvio

What About Fake Accounts?

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Shell accounts. Sock Puppets. Fakes.

These are just some of the terms used for fake social media accounts; an account with a name and perhaps a picture that are not actually indicative of the person behind the keyboard.

Many people have used shell accounts for many reasons over the years. Some are benign; individuals trying to sign up for one more free trial of a software or simply hiding the fact that you have an account from an employers. Others have had more nefarious purposes such as the Russian back effort to influence U.S. elections [1]. Some politicians have even been known to create accounts to attack rivals and interact with voters anonymously [2].

No matter the reason, the phenomenon is here and here to stay.

I have had many clients over the years ask if creating an account to compliment their own business or question a potential opponent on an issue is illegal. I would think the answer obvious but, in case it isn't, here you go.

Is It Illegal To Have a Fake Facebook Account?

Simply having an account that does not accurately reflect who you are as a person is not illegal in the United States of America. While it may be a violation of most platforms terms of service, especially Facebook, to create a fake account there is no law against it.

However, what you do with that account can still come back to haunt you. Using a fake account to illicit some kind of financial benefit under false pretenses could be considered fraud. Prosecutors using fake accounts to get information on suspects may be a violation of their constitutional rights [3]. Basically, any activity that would be a crime regardless of whether you used your real name or not will still be a crime.

You should always assume that, eventually, you will at a minimum be revealed as a fake account. A worst case scenario would be if your true identity was revealed and you had a legitimate reason to keep it concealed.

Fake accounts have their purpose but they may not be worth the trouble no matter the legal consequences.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page