Warning! Do Not Trust Screenshots of Tweets

One of the things we strive to do at SteamFeed is tell the truth about marketing, social media, technology, and business. And when we see a new social media tool come out that could potentially damage the reputation of people, we want to educate people about it: we’re trying to make the internet a better place for everyone by cleaning up the junk.

One of our authors, Phil Gerbyshak (@PhilGerb), shared this post from Media Bistro in our private Facebook group. It’s about a new tool called LemmeTweetThatForYou that lets you create Twitter screenshots on behalf of others. It pulls everything, from the display picture, to @username, and even pulls the user’s background! Yikes! Now, it was probably created for fun, like shown in the screenshots below.

screenshots of tweets

 

screenshots of tweets

But there are two main concerns that popped up in our group when we first heard of this: Boasted Reputations, and Damaged Reputations.

1. Fake Reputation and Endorsements

Imagine if you’re an industry professional, trying to make it big. You want a super great endorsement on Twitter from the leading experts in your industry. Or you’re launching this scam product, maybe some ridiculous social media certification, and you want to get endorsements from big names in the industry and satisfied clients. Well, it’s now easier to fake it.

Before, when you saw a Twitter screenshot of an endorsement, reference, or testimonial, it was legit. You believed it, and it gave extra credibility to the person who’s endorsed. Now, it could easily be faked, making self-proclaimed “gurus” look like they know what they’re doing, with fake endorsements, from “real” clients. This is in the same boat as buying fake followers/likes to make yourself look more “important.”

2. Damaged & Ruined Reputations and Bullying/Harassment

There are always petty people out there, trying to ruin others’ achievements. It sucks, but it’s true. If anyone wanted to start some fake drama, accuse people of saying nasty things, or accuse someone of bullying, they could easily create a fake tweet screenshot now, blog about it, and create some real damage towards someone’s reputation. If people search for the real tweets, you could easily say they’ve been deleted, and nobody can argue who’s right or wrong. Since most people don’t know about this tool, they would be more inclined on believing the person that’s creating a ruckus, than the poor person getting attacked. Not cool.

The problem with a tool like this is that IT WILL GET ABUSED! The majority of people do not know about this tool, and will believe the screenshots are real. I know the tool was probably not created for the purposes above, but a fun, harmless tool can easily be used in a negative context, which can be dangerous.

It’s our job, as social media professionals, to educate as many people as we can about this. Please, share this article with everyone you know, or even write your own follow-up article! Let’s all help making the internet a safer place for everyone.

Daniel Hebert
Daniel Hebert is an award-winning graduate of Mount Allison University, Digital Marketing Manager at PostBeyond, and Co-founder at SteamFeed.com. He has a passion for digital marketing and entrepreneurship. If he wasn’t a marketer, he would take his love for food and become a chef.
Daniel Hebert

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20 Comments on "Warning! Do Not Trust Screenshots of Tweets"


Guest
@JenKaneCo
1 year 11 months ago

Ironically, I was visiting the site tonight to look for something else and saw the teaser with the Ellen tweet on the homepage. And, even though I had already read this article, for just a second I found myself thinking, "Gee, I didn't know that Ellen knew Daniel."

That's a powerfully dangerous tool.

Guest
@charlotte_tone
1 year 11 months ago

Wow, I had no idea this website existed! Although sites like this were obviously created for harmless fun it's quite scary to think how easily they could be abused; doctor that 'retweets' metric and you've got a bit of instant social proof.

It'd be interesting to see if Twitter develop some kind of action plan to try and root out the cheaters now it's such an important marketing tool as well as a social network.

Guest
Daniel Hebert
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks for the comment Charlotte!

I really don't know what Twitter could do in this case, except shut that site down. People can still fake screenshots with Photoshop, and it would be very hard for Twitter to keep track of all the fakes out there. Sad but true :(

Guest
muz4now
2 years 1 day ago

I understand your point. Doctoring screen shots was available before this and will still be around even if this tool gets nuked. But now that people know they can't trust screen shots, what can someone use, for example, when there is real bullying going on and they want to out the perpetrator?

2 years 1 day ago

Great comment!

You can always embed tweets directly in your blog posts, making them more interactive anyways. The down-side of that is that sometimes tweets get deleted (especially when it\’s in a case of bullying).

If you were to take a screenshot of a tweet, you neet to show a little bit more than just focusing on the tweet itself. What I mean by this is that you could show two tweets, a bit of the background, and a bit of the sidebar as well – these screenshots are a lot more difficult to manipulate, and could be taken a bit more seriously.

Hope this helps!

Guest
dragonblogger
2 years 1 day ago

This is one reason why I prefer people to use the native tweet embeds, especially on a WordPress blog, it adds legitimacy as well as better appearance overall. I never trust screenshots from affiliate marketers showing the thousands deposited per week into their accounts either. It is ironic since I do screenshots of earnings from my own blog but they are screenshots of an excel spreadsheet, of course they can be fake but in my case who would fake something to be so unimpressive :)

Guest
Daniel Hebert
1 year 11 months ago

I agree about the embed.

The only downside is that if the tweet gets deleted, the embed won't work anymore. A way to combat this is to take a screenshot of more than just the tweet. Include a couple tweets, some of the background, the sidebar, etc. It's a lot harder to fake a screenshot like that.

Guest
dragonblogger
1 year 11 months ago

Hah, thats a good point about if the tweet gets deleted, defeats the whole purpose doesn't it.

Guest
Daniel Hebert
1 year 11 months ago

Exactly! If you're dealing with sensitive tweets in a blog post, and the post gets some traction, the person tweeting might decide to delete the sensitive tweets.

This happens all the time, that's why people use screenshots of tweets as backups. The problem now is that screenshots are easier than ever to fake :S

Guest
garyhyman
2 years 1 day ago

Block one hole and another opens up. I find it's a constant situation learning about what & how people are abusing others online. Thanks for publicizing & keeping us informed.

Guest
Daniel Hebert
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks for the comment Gary!