Say I pose as another person on social media and use their name, photos, etc.

Given that it's just a mock-up account and it's not used solely for criminal activity or among other means to harm or damage the person in question, would mimicking their profiles alone be illegal?

Is posing as another person illegal if all you're doing is re-hosting their images and using their name, but not engaging in any questionable activity under their name (for example, saying racial slurs, etc.)?

1 Answer 1


Would it be a crime? Probably not.

Would it be illegal? Almost certainly.

Here is an extract from Facebook's terms of service:

  1. Registration and Account Security

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

  1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.

I would assume that most if not all social media sites would have equivalent provisions.

  • 1
    Why is violating the terms of use of a service be illegal? Is there some statute that makes violating terms of use into a crime? If so, what crime and under what federal law? Unauthorized access (breaking into an account without permission) is not the same as violating an agreement with the owner of the server is it?
    – mark b
    Sep 7, 2017 at 17:34
  • 1
    Criminal is illegal but illegal is not just criminal. Breaking contracts is illegal but not criminal.
    – Dale M
    Sep 7, 2017 at 19:20

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