back to article Reg top tip: Don't have the same name as someone else if you use Facebook's Instagram

An apparent account mix-up briefly lead to Spanish soccer star Andrés Iniesta inadvertently hijacking the Instagram account of another man with the same name. Andrés Iniesta, a Spanish man who is not a member of FC Barcelona, said that his account (ainiesta) was abruptly removed and linked to the account of the star athlete of …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge
    FAIL

    I feel sorry for all of the people named John Smith, then because that's an huge clustertruck waiting to happen. Epic fail on FB and Instagram's part.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      John Smith? Isn't he dead?

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        No, no. He's just resting.

      2. andy gibson

        If he is dead he'll be spinning in his grave at the current state of the Labour party.

        1. Bob Wheeler
          Pint

          Didn't he run a brewery?

          1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

            "Didn't he run a brewery?"

            You're thinking of the other John Smith.

            No, not John "No Middle Initial" Smith from Accounts, or John "John Smith" Smith, the amateur John Smith impersonator from Smitham. You know: Johnny, and his mate Smithy's, brewer friend, John Smith!

            Or maybe it was Dave. I often get those two confused.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: "Didn't he run a brewery?"

              "You know: Johnny, and his mate Smithy's, brewer friend, John Smith!"

              Sam?

      3. NanoMeter

        Some of the John Smiths are dead, others still alive.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. AndyS

    Good parting advice

    "I think if Instagram had responded in time all this could have been avoided."

    This is undoubtedly true, but of course responding personally, to every single request for help, would cost an absolute fortune.

    It's interesting. With many of the massive web-based corporations, from review websites through social media to new airlines, customer service seems to be an afterthought. However the ability for exceptional cases to go viral can, occasionally, bite them hard.

    The risk/reward analysis must be pretty complex. There must be a PhD in there somewhere.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Good parting advice

      then only act on reported imposters then, don't try to automatically ban people on a whim.

      1. lsces

        Re: Good parting advice

        Many of the 'automatic' processes on Facebook are ill-conceived. Perhaps some time in the next 5 years we may finally get a list of UK places that actually exist and don't keep changing when someone posts an inappropriate 'edit'. There are daily reports of places being linked simply because something looks vaguely similar.

    2. Laura Kerr

      Re: Good parting advice

      "responding personally, to every single request for help, would cost an absolute fortune"

      Well, tough. Instagram need a bloody good slap for that.

      Not because they eventually sorted it out, but because they ignored the guy until their hands were effectively forced. If that hadn't happened, he'd still be wondering if Instagram would pull their fingers out before the sun burnt out.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Good parting advice

      customer service seems to be an afterthought.

      I doubt if it is even that high a priority. For one thing it would require them to recognise that users are Customers and not Products.

      1. Barbarian At the Gates

        Re: Good parting advice

        When you think of it that way, we actually don't know if their customer support is poor. We just know that their product support is poor.

        Instagram may be doing a fabulous job of supporting their advertising customers.

    4. AndyS

      Re: Good parting advice

      I see I'm being downvoted, so feel the need to clarify - my comment wasn't an attempt to defend Instagram/Facebook etc (their behaviour is truly appalling) but to look at why problems like this keep occurring, and what is causing them. As Isces points out problems like this are endemic to badly designed automated systems (placenames like Scunthorpe being famous, but countless people have had their own names deemed "inappropriate" too).

      The obvious solution, as Laura says, is "a bloody good slap." Which is where the viral stuff comes in, by exponentially increasing the risk.

      However the issue is that can only work so often; the problem is so widespread, and the reward so high, that even the occasional beating won't make it go away. Which leaves a pretty nasty taste.

    5. Turtle

      @AndyS Re: Good parting advice

      "The risk/reward analysis must be pretty complex. "

      I wouldn't think so. The typical user represents an increment of income very close to, but not quite, zero. Any time and effort whatsoever that is spent on supporting the customer means that the customer instantly (see what I did there?) becomes, not an almost-negligible amount of net income, but a net expenditure.

      Of course, that's probably only true for those companies that actually turn a profit. Few of them seem to do so. In that case, each customer would be assumed to represent a loss, pure and simple.

      Interestingly, as I believe that Instagram, like all of these shitty social networks, runs in the red, it could well be the case that the more popular a user is, the greater an expense he represents.

      Although the saying was coined long before the internet came into existence, there is no place where it is truer: "Sure we lose money on every sale, but we make it up in volume".

    6. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Good parting advice

      The risk/reward analysis must be pretty complex. There must be a PhD in there somewhere.

      Close but no cookie (biscuit). No PhD involved at all probably. Most likely it's a beancounter... 3rd one on the left in row 5. Profit vs. exposure to litigation... or maybe just "profit!!!! Who gives a crap about users.".

  3. jake Silver badge

    One wonders ...

    ... how, exactly, did "ainiesta" become "andresiniesta8"? Do the children running instagram really not understand that computers are quite literal when it comes to ones & zeros? Do they really not actually understand how computers work? Are the investors worried (yet)?

    Note: One of my pet peeves is that I'm not "Jake" here on ElReg, rather I'm "jake". There really is a difference between '01010100' and '01010110', like it or not.

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/26670/

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/4800/

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: One wonders ...

      Either both [Jj]akes are you (which looks likely, given the tone of the content), and you either forgot you already had a login or were too, ahem, inattentive to spot the "Forgot password?" link on the login page, or there are two distinct Jakes, one of which then evidently needs to make do with "jake", "Jake1", "AnotherJake", "NotTheSameJake" or any other variation .nes. "Jake"

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ Stoneshop (was: Re: One wonders ...)

        "Either both [Jj]akes are you (which looks likely, given the tone of the content),"

        Honestly? My commentardary makes me sound like a tea-bagger?

        "you either forgot you already had a login or were too, ahem, inattentive to spot the "Forgot password?""

        No ... I'm pretty certain I've been here for a while and know my password.

        "one of which then evidently needs to make do with "jake"

        "I'm not "making do", I'm just "jake". Have been, for quite awhile.

        ""Jake1", "AnotherJake", "NotTheSameJake" or any other variation .nes. "Jake""

        No idea who any of them are, nor even if they exist on ElReg.

        1. AndyS

          Re: @ Stoneshop (was: One wonders ...)

          Wait, so you're not a Tea-bagger? I always assumed you were, sort of, everything trollish, all rolled into one. Which obviously would inherently include tea bothering.

          :p

          On a side note, not sure I understand your actual complaint - obviously if there are 2 users, jake and Jake, then The Reg clearly does understand the difference, and treat them differently.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: @ Stoneshop (was: One wonders ...)

          <i.No ... I'm pretty certain I've been here for a while and know my password.</i>

          This doesn't in any way disprove that at some point you might have had the "Jake" login which you then forgot about.

          "I'm not "making do", I'm just "jake". Have been, for quite awhile.

          So why label it as a "pet peeve" then?

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: One wonders ...

        "Either both [Jj]akes are you..."

        Didn't you know, jake was a pioneer of self cloning. It started off as just the extra leg, but now there's a whole extra persona.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: One wonders ...

      One of my pet peeves is...

      Indeed, indeed... still getting the shivers down my spine when remembering what followed after I hastily wrote "Jack" once.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jake Silver badge

      @ Gideon 1

      Just seeing if anyone is paying attention to reality ;-)

      Note that my statement is accurate as written.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Don't you mean 01001010 'j' and 01101010 'J', rather than the binary for ASCII '6' and '8'?"

      Possibly he's expressing it LS bit first. In low level comms you get used to the possibility of reading bit patterns in either direction.

      A comms linked papertape punch produced a test tape that the customer held up to the light and pronounced ok. Putting it through a Telex machine it was rubbish. The developer didn't know that the IBM comms processor needed the application data bytes in reverse bit order. The customer had read the large hole patterns on the tape - not noticing that the sprocket holes were in the wrong track.

  5. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    Another...

    .. own goal for Failbook!

  6. Christoph Silver badge

    "I think if Instagram had responded in time all this could have been avoided."

    Or if Instagram had realised that people generally do not have unique names, and had bothered to check before assuming that someone with the same name as a celebrity must automatically be a fraud.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Instagram would prefer that everyone use their Social Security Number (or their country's equivalent) as their user ID.

      1. Meerkatjie

        I think they would prefer we used our Facebook number as our government id. It would simplify everything if the governments were aligned with Facebook.

        1. David Nash Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re. Facebook number as our government id

          Shades of Dave Eggers' "The Circle" here.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        numbers

        I know you're just joking, but using government ID numbers probably wouldn't be all that easy. A migrant can end up having several such ID numbers, issued by different governments, but still not having the one you wanted for your database. Top football players do tend to migrate a bit...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Social Security Number

        Except Social Security Numbers are not unique IDs in all countries.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Go

    Thank you Facebook

    For deciding that "Gene Cash" wasn't my real name and demanding to see a birth certificate, driver's license, and other things you aren't entitled to see.

    You saved me from having to deal with all the rest of your shit. Plus it's a better story than the usual "ah don' do farcebook" grump.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you Facebook

      Suggest a name change to something more realistic. How about:

      Gene Splicing

      Mo Cash

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you Facebook

      My Facebook username is obviously not real. Whatever algorithm they are using has never picked it up as unlikely to be a person's name - although it could be construed as a company name.

  8. DaveDaveDave

    A lot of people missing the point

    Iniesta-the-footballer has a social media management company who claimed the site was a fake account of his.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If something is free....

    ... you are the product being sold

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jake (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/26670/) managed to get a lot of frothing excitement into his two posts, didn't he?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In case anyone is wondering ainesta was taken because the famous ainesta or his team asked for it. There is no other logical explanation as to why he would all of a sudden get a new name on instagram, indeed the fact he started posting to it.

    Ref: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33592599

    The ref is for him posting pictures to it.

  12. Lyndon Hills 1

    the now-famous non-famous Andrés Iniesta

    lovely!

  13. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Andrés Iniesta, a Spanish man who is not a member of FC Barcelona

    I don't know much about football, but is it really so unusual not to be a member of FC Barcelona? What percentage of Spanish adult males are members?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Percentage of adult male members

      I think about half of them are dicks, if that's what you're asking.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Happy

      "I don't know much about football, but is it really so unusual not to be a member of FC Barcelona? What percentage of Spanish adult males are members?"

      It is unusual to be a member of FC Barcelona.

      FC Barcelona is owned and operated by the supporters - i.e. members. Wikipedia says that there were approx. 170,000 members in 2010. I couldn't find any demographic information about members in the FCB website.

      I have too much free time so here's my educated guesswork:

      The population in Spain was about 40,500,000 back then (2010), and the sex ratio was 0,96 so about 19,800,000 males. Adulthood in Spain is defined as 18 years but the demographics in CIA don't break the age groups into 0-18 years, so further deducing tells me that around 80% are adults - 15,840,000.

      170000 / 15840000 * 100 = 1,07%. A small subset may be foreigners so let's call it an even 1 percent - especially without exact demographic numbers.

      NB: The numbers were lifted from Wayback machine and are not current.

  14. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    They can damn well answer

    "This is undoubtedly true, but of course responding personally, to every single request for help, would cost an absolute fortune."

    Yes, because most requests for help are probably pointless and stupid, like "Hey Instagram help me get viruses off my computer" or whatever.. No, I would not respond to those.

    But, if they have enough manpower to decide legitimate accounts are "imposters", they can damn well have enough manpower to respond to requests *from the very accounts they disabled*, saying "Hey, I'm a real person."

  15. Peter Clarke 1

    Simple Test

    Surely for the Snr Iniesta to have a 'simple' username with no digit attached it must have been set up a while ago. The footballer has an 8 suffix so his must have been set up later. A simple check of account dates should've raised questions. Have accounts 1-7 been similarly grabbed??

    1. A. Coatsworth

      Re: Simple Test

      No sir, the famous Iniesta has the number 8 in his username because that's the number on his jersey. Footballers tend to get attached to their numbers...

      I doubt there are andresiniesta1 thru 7 in instagram.

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