There are so many fans heading down to Nashville this year for CMA Fest with hopes, dreams and fantasies of meeting their favorite country artists in mind. Fan fair brings in tons of fans and those once in a lifetime chances for the lucky fans. Over the past number of years, social media has become a tool to promote and advertise upcoming artists and shows. Facebook has fan pages for almost every artist you’d want to meet. The one thing I came across was profiles claiming to be some of my favorite musicians.
Truthfully, I managed to be quite lucky meeting artists. I’ve become a fan of Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean and so on. I even won the opportunity to meet some of those artists. The one thing I realized after my first meet and greet with Jason Aldean last year was that the artists don’t always know what’s happening regarding the social media part of promoting themselves.
Via a little tip I received from a friend on Facebook, I started realizing that fake profiles were being created under the names of some of the top ten music acts. Jason Aldean has 10 profiles under his stage name. I dug a little deeper into it and realized that some fans took advantage of their popularity. Perfect example was last summer. The person behind the fake Jason Aldean profile was claiming to be Jason, talking to fans and saying completely outlandish things that a clear thinking person would’ve been shocked at. I ended up befriending a small group of ladies that brought the truth to light. There were two profiles that were working together to defraud all the fans. One was claiming to be Jason’s wife Jessica, and the other was claiming to be Jason himself. Rumors were created, lies were told and the web of lies continued to get bigger and bigger. As of today, there are over 2000 people still on those profiles thinking that they are talking to the real Jason Aldean.
When I won the chance to meet Jason last year and asked him about the profiles, he said there was only one page that was his – one and only one. He said it was run by his management company for promotion and for the fans. This small group of ladies was told by that management company to screenshot any conversations that this impersonator had with other fans and report it to them. Still, nothing was done. Those profiles continue to this day. What I’ve realized in all this time is that sometimes the management companies don’t even realize the importance of the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
As a smart business move, Twitter has opted to verify celebrity accounts (a step ahead of Facebook). As I see it, it was a smart move on their part so that fans aren’t defrauded. My question was, why hasn’t Facebook done that? A petition is still circulating that was going to be forwarded to Facebook about this complaint.
In the past month or so, I was notified that these fake profiles are starting to get worse. Now, the imposters are creating fake profiles to corroborate the original profiles. Perfect example was a scandal that was released regarding Alan Jackson and his daughter. Someone claimed to be his daughter and said that she was in hospital etc. It hit the airwaves and fans came in droves to stop it from happening again on Facebook. Same thing happened with Martina McBride’s daughters. Oddly enough, they even went as far as creating profiles under the names of Jason Aldean’s daughters to cover for the fake Jason profiles.
The impostors, over the past few months, have even gone as far as accepting gifts in Jason’s name. Packages were sent to somewhere in the state of Washington as fans were told that he could pick them up there. Fans sent expensive guitars with promises that “Jason” would sign them and send them back. Nobody ever got anything back from these imposters. A private investigator was even duped into believing that it wasn’t a scam.
Oddly enough, a group of ladies I ended up bumping into on some of the fake profiles took it upon themselves to start defending Jason Aldean’s name on these social media sites. Known only as the “Aldean Defenders”, these ladies have spent almost 3 years trying to rid Facebook of the impersonators and tried to ensure that others don’t get caught up in the web of lies from these fake profiles. The group started out as 2 or 3 women and has taken off from there. Not only are they trying to clear Jason Aldean’s name on Facebook, but they’ve gone one step further trying to clear the name of anyone whose name has become attached to this group of impostors responsible for the fake profiles. “I can’t believe how far this has gone. Someone needs to stop it,” one of the ladies that we’ll name J.A. J.A. along with J.S. and S.L. were and will remain the founding members of this group of ladies. “Someone has to do something. Why wouldn’t it be us,” J.S. said. “When we realized how far this had gone, we immediately banded together to try and stop it once and for all,” S.L. said. “Facebook allows these profiles to be created despite the hundreds of reports that they are sent. When they stop allowing this and start verifying like Twitter does, we won’t need to do this anymore,” J.A and S.L said in a conversation I had with them recently. “There are a few profiles that truly are who they say they are. Only one I’ve had contact with was Jana Kramer,” S.L. mentioned. So does that mean that every other profile of any country artists is fake? Not necessarily. When you have true proof, you know once and for all that it really is them. Don’t be fooled.
When all is said and done, it’s up to the fans to believe what they want to believe. When you look at all the drama that this group of women have tried to put an end to over the past few years, you can’t help but thank them. Next time you look at a star’s personal page on Facebook and think that you’re actually talking to them, think twice. Don’t be surprised if you start realizing that you’re stuck in a web of lies.
Rules for Facebook:
1) If someone claims to be a country artist and is exposing personal information and starting rumors, report them. They are most likely, fake.
2) When you come across a fake profile, report it. Don’t wait to see if you’re right.
3) Don’t ever send personal items to an artist when they give you an address on Facebook. Most packages that are truly going to the artists would go through their management company. Only way it could be different from that is when they are Opry members. The Opry has mailboxes for its members where fans can send packages and letters.
4) If you are duped, don’t feel so bad. So were thousands of others.
5) Trust your gut instinct. If you think it’s fake, it probably is.