Don’t believe anything about that hottie who just tried to friend you on Facebook. I’ve watched enough sensationalist TV to know it could really be Chris Hansen on the other end. Or, even worse, Scott Pioli.
(”It’s a trap!”)
YAHOO SPORTS, which is pretty much leaving CBSSPORTS.COM in the dust these days, talked to a source in NFL personnel who confirmed that it’s actually pretty common for teams to create fake accounts to get access to potential draft picks’ personal lives. Thorny legal issues aside, this isn’t a bad idea. It’s not as if Facebook hasn’t gotten athletes in trouble before.
The teams call them “ghost profiles,” because “once the draft is over, they disappear. It’s like they were never there.”
Since I’m such a huge megastar and have beautiful women trying to friend me all the time, I’m good at spotting fakes. But can you really blame a 20-year-old kid for falling for this?
The woman in the Facebook picture is attractive, with auburn hair and icy blue eyes. She is flanked by several other women, each armed with an inviting smile and curvy features. Along with the photo is a hopeful note from the female “fan” asking to be added to a player’s personal networking profile.
Of course, once they’ve linked to the players accounts, their entire personal lives are open for dissection. And with teams focusing more and more on character issues, it’s a natural outgrowth. Take one potential Vikings prospect, who was nice enough to take a photo of a carpet covered in drugs and drug money. I’m sure that made Minnesota’s draft-day call that much easier.
This isn’t confined to the teams. A friend in the media commonly uses fake Facebook profiles to befriend athletes, to see what kind of dirt they can dig up.
So…the bigger issue. Is this criminal, or just harmless research? According to noted constitutional scholar Dr. Wick E. Pedia, that’s an open question. It’s illegal to use a fake social network profile to libel someone, or for the purposes of entrapment, but no one’s yet tackled the question of whether the profiles themselves break the law. I’m sure this is something we’ll be hearing more about soon.