Detecting, Reporting & Taking Down Fake Instagram Threads Accounts Impersonating your Brand

The Internet’s latest online forum – Instagram Threads – has come into the spotlight and garnered over 150 million users within the first 2 weeks. Considering its relative infancy and meteoric rise in popularity, you can bet bad actors are paying attention. 

We’ve already seen examples of brand impersonations on Threads. Many brands looking to protect their customers and their online reputation are curious about Threads impersonations and how to handle them. For the most part, our team of takedown experts finds that dealing with an impersonation on Threads closely mirrors the Instagram abuse reporting and takedown process. However, with Meta’s launching its Meta Verified service earlier this year, takedowns on Instagram, and by extension Threads, have become more complex and work intensive. 

To help brands protect themselves and their customers on Threads, our expert takedown team shared with us some tips for detecting, reporting, and taking down deceptive Threads accounts. We wanted to share those insights with brands to help them in protecting their brand on the latest social media platform. 

Nuances of Instagram Threads Impersonations

Meta has tied Threads directly to Instagram, so you must have access to your Instagram account in order to create a Threads account. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to claim your brand name on Instagram which will also allow you to do the same on the Threads platform. 

Threads is a mobile-app-first platform. Desktop access is limited, requires a direct link to a profile or post, and does not permit browsing or searching. In order to claim an account and/or search for impersonations, employees will need to download the app to their phones.

Given that Threads and Instagram are attached at the hip, claiming a Threads account is currently a permanent endeavor. That means if you want to delete a Threads account in the future, it will require that you also delete the associated Instagram account. This will remove both the Threads and Instagram accounts. As for reporting impersonations, you can report a post or profile directly on Threads; however the associated Instagram account is what actually gets reported.

Crucial tips from Allure Security takedown team for protecting your brand on Threads

Recent changes to Meta’s abuse reporting processes have led our takedown team to make two main recommendations for proactively defending your brand on Threads (and Instagram for that matter):

  1. Trademark your brand name and logo and maintain those marks – If you do not subscribe to Meta Verified, your options for removing a post or account that impersonates your brand become limited to reporting an intellectual property violation. Without a trademarked brand name or logo, Facebook, Instagram, and Threads abuse teams are unlikely to consider your complaint valid.
  2. Subscribe to Meta Verified – When reporting an impersonation on Threads (and Instagram), if the impersonated party (your brand for example) is not Meta Verified, you won’t be able to select it in the reporting menu options. And again, in those cases, you’re essentially limited to reporting an intellectual property violation.

Once you’ve set up and verified a brand instagram account, the username and verification status will carry over to your Threads account once you’ve claimed it.

Reporting fake or deceptive Threads accounts or posts targeting your brand

There are various reasons to report posts on Threads (see pictures below). Keep in mind, you cannot report a profile that is not Meta Verified. To report a post, tap the icon in the top right corner of the Threads app and select “report”.

Reporting brand impersonations will fall into the categories of:

  • Scam or fraud
  • Intellectual property violation
Screenshot of Instagram Threads reporting options

To report a scam or fraud

  • Select “Scam or fraud” in the report menu
  • This automatically reports the post
Screen shot of Instagram Threads scam or fraud reporting options.

To report an intellectual property violation:

If your brand is not Meta Verified, this will be your only option for requesting a Threads profile takedown. You’ll also need registered trademarks of your brand name and logo or you won’t get far. Properly presenting a case for an intellectual property violation complaint can get complicated. You will want to consider using a brand protection vendor such as Allure Security to streamline this process for you and accelerate the time it takes for a takedown.

  1. Select “intellectual property violation” in the report menu
  2. Copy the code generated on the next page
    1. You will be prompted to visit the Instagram help center
    2. Determine whether the violation is a trademark infringement or a copyright violation
      1. Trademark violations and copyright infringements have their own respective reporting paths
      2. After reading the descriptions, follow the links and you will be able to submit a report
    3. If possible, use the code given to you when submitting your report
Screenshot of Instagram Threads intellectual property violation reporting options

How to report Threads profiles impersonating your brand or employees

This reporting method is only available if the impersonated entity is Meta Verified.

  1. Go to a profile and click the icon in the Threads app
  2. Select report profile
  3. Select “Its pretending to be someone else” 
  4. Make the appropriate selection for who is being impersonated
    1. You will be prompted to search and select who/what is being impersonated

Businesses and public figures will need to have verified Instagram profiles in order to be reported. 

Screenshot of Instagram Threads impersonation reporting options.

A report is rarely enough – following up on spoofs of your brand on Instagram Threads

Reporting a deceptive post or profile is really only the beginning of your process. You must check back regularly to see that action has been taken on your report. If Instagram’s response to reports of deceptive Threads accounts or posts is anything like Facebook’s, you will likely need to submit multiple reports. Our expert takedown team estimates that reporting is successful the first time in only about half of cases. Experts like Allure Security can significantly increase your success rate here.


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Detecting, Reporting & Taking Down Fake Instagram Threads Accounts Impersonating your Brand

Detecting, Reporting & Taking Down Fake Instagram Threads Accounts Impersonating your Brand