Social media platforms—especially Facebook—are lifelines for many companies' success. Facebook itself is full of dozens of such stories, with many businesses increasing customer engagement and sales by dozens or even hundreds of percent.

Not all businesses are so lucky, though. A few have found that their Facebook experience hasn't been as successful.

For example, dozens of American and European firms have been ripped off by a chain of Chinese online vendors that sell knockoffs of the original design and use the original designers' photos and other content, according to a recent investigative BuzzFeed article. Kore Wear has seen its content ripped off by Zaful, a China-based knockoff site that uses Kore's photos to sell $12 versions of a designer swimsuit that the company sells for $249.

Welcome to the dark side of Facebook, where the tools that businesses use to win friends and make sales also open the door to imposters, thieves, and charlatans.

Stolen content 

Criminals can all too easily use Facebook to rip off the design, ideas, and content of legitimate sites. Stealing a Web image is as easy as right-clicking. Even measures to prevent right-click image downloading aren't foolproof; all an image thief needs to do is take a screenshot to capture an image.

Several years ago, the Web was full of stories about fake Facebook merchant and business pages. For example, pages with permutations of the term "Coca-Cola" (misspelled, without a dash, etc.) were being used for purposes other than promoting the soft drink by people who had nothing to do with the brand.

For the past year or so, Facebook has been cracking down on the phenomenon. Although many fake pages still exist, several others have been rooted out. So have the fake profiles often recruited to "like" fake pages.

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image of Motti Nisani

Motti Nisani is CEO of emaze, a leading online presentation software for businesses.

LinkedIn: Motti Nisani