Normally on a Monday (or a Tuesday for this matter) I would be writing a typical "weekend recap" post all about our Friday-Sunday. Normally, I would have written all about the FUN TIMES that Greg and I had with my mom and dad... building the baby's crib, sewing up a storm on custom curtains and custom cushions for a window bench, and celebrating Greg and my mom's birthdays. It TRULY was an amazing weekend that I wish I could write about on my blog for my memory's sake.
But this "weekend recap" is different and carries a much different tone.
Sunday night after enjoying a dinner at Stella's Fish Cafe and exchanging presents for Greg and Mom's birthdays, I received an alarming email from a stranger. The email explained that two fake Facebook accounts (and Match, Twitter, Google+ among others) under impostor names had been created using photos of myself and Greg.
Long story short, the email recipient had been contacted by "Greg's Impostor" on Match. Being the responsible person that I can assume that she is (we've all seen Catfish on MTV), she did a bit of research with the impostor's profile picture. From there she found my blog, put two and two together, found the fake Facebook profile that belonged to our impostors, and then contacted me about this.
I immediately left my family behind in the living room and checked out the two profiles on Facebook. Sure enough, my photos were all over the fake accounts. Funny enough, I found out, another Minnesota Blogger friend of mine (who I've already contacted and won't name here) was actually the true target of the fake account belonging to "My Impostor" and the photos of me were just used to play the part of the impostor's "sister."
For the brief time that I spent on Facebook looking at these fake profiles, I felt absolutely sick. There were photos of innocent friends on a trip of ours from Mexico, pictures from our last Halloween, and photos of Greg's fishing tournament partner as recent as last month posted on the fake accounts. I asked my parents and Greg to join me and texted Carolyn to check it out as well. She screenshotted me these photos...
These are absolutely sickening and disgusting. MY LIFE portrayed as belonging to someone else. THESE PHOTOS THAT BELONG TO ME ARE ALSO ACCOMPANIED BY FAKE STORY LINES, LIKES, AND COMMENTS. What the fuck.
So what did I do? The quick answer was to make my blog private and to contact Facebook about the fake accounts. The "damage" I've done with putting four years of photos on my public blog cannot be erased but I can at least try to stop any future violations.
I woke up yesterday and found that both Facebook accounts have disappeared. Because I waited, I was not able to confront the impostor. Of course there is no way to tell whether my photos have been used to create another fake account but that is something that I cannot control right now.
I've made my blog RSS feed private. I tried to remove my blog from BlogLovin' but there is no way to fully remove the blog. I've made my Instagram private but there is no way to tell whether the person is already following me. I've confirmed as best as possible that my Facebook privacy is tight. I've removed all major heading/social media links from my blog. I've drafted all of the posts from my last four years... and after the word about my so-called "privacy" being violated has gotten out, I unfortunately plan on making my blog fully private.
If you are involved in "Blog World", you may have seen a similar issue played out over at another blog earlier this summer. I remember reading the post and thinking to myself, "I could never be a target of something like this, I'm "small potatoes" compared to this bigger blogger. WHO would want MY photos???"
It should be mentioned that my Minnesota Blogger friend who was also affected has 16 followers on BlogLovin'.
DO NOT BELIEVE THAT YOU CANNOT BE TARGETED BECAUSE OF YOUR "BLOG SIZE" ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM.
I do not care to exchange words with the impostor other than to say that it is safe to assume WHAT WE ALL THINK OF YOU. You have violated my innocent friends, stollen my photos and "privacy", and ruined the chance to chronicle MY LIFE while sharing it with my family and REAL BLOG FRIENDS along the way.
I know that we can all agree that watermarking your photos is a pain in the ass but if you are reading this and are thinking that this cannot happen to you, PLEASE RETHINK protecting yourself (and your family, children, and friends) I become sick to my stomach again to think about all of the precious children that I read about and "see" in blog photos every single day who could be affected in the same way as I was.
And if you have decided to start watermarking your photos, please do so where your indicator runs across the faces in your photos. Yes, this is not ideal... but someone can still copy and crop your photo... and having your life displayed as belonging to someone else IS NOT IDEAL.
So for now? To protect my family, friends, and baby-on-the-way, this is me saying goodbye. For me, this was a no-brainer decision that I'm sure you can understand (or at least respect). The only positive from this is that I was informed before our son is born.
There is NO WAY to thank SO MANY OF YOU who have touched my life, inspired me, and have become friends to me in the past four years. I am sad. I will miss our daily interactions. I may be "back" at some point but (for sure) in a different manner. And I'm not sure when that may be.
I will be keeping my email and would like to say that if ANYONE HAS ANY QUESTION ABOUT ANYTHING, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME. One of the best things about Blog World is the chance to help those who are looking for a friend, an answer, or someone similar to them. I'd hope that I can still be that person to others, though the chance is slim at this point. As it always has been, my email is kellykmku at gmail dot com.
Two more things before I sign off... If for some reason you stumble upon my public blog (photos, etc) floating around the internet, I would be forever grateful if I were notified.
Secondly, this post will be public for a while so PLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS IF YOU FEEL SO INCLINED. To spread the word that this can happen to ANYONE, please feel free to link back, email, etc.