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Fake regional journalist Instagram account dupes 1,000 people

More than 1,000 people were duped by an impostor claiming to be a regional journalist online.

Manchester Evening News politics and investigations editor Jen Williams raised the alarm after a fake Instagram account was set up purporting to be her.

The fake account had 1,014 followers on the social network before Jen reported it.

The profile now appears to have been taken down by Instagram.

Jen fake 1

Jen, who is soon set to leave the MEN for a new role with the Financial Times, posted a screenshot of the account on Twitter on Monday evening,

She added: “Evening all – should this follow you on Instagram this is not me. It has been reported and will be further reported but just to let you all know.”

It is not the first time the issue of fake social media accounts has affected the regional press.

HTFP reported in 2017 how Sheffield daily The Star had to publish a public clarification after a person on Twitter going by the name ‘Greg Bryan’ claimed to be working as a multimedia sports journalist for the newspaper.

The user behind the account had stolen a picture of Jussi Eronen, managing editor of Helsinki-based weekly news magazine Suomen Kuvalehti, who thanked The Star for exposing the fakery.

In 2020, Nicola Adam, who was then editor of a number of JPIMedia’s Lancashire weeklies, also had to issue a clarification after a fake Facebook account purporting to be her posted a statement claiming she had left the company.