Bishop Steve Lowe – social media faked

Stephen Lowe

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) warns that two social media accounts of Bishop Steve Lowe on Facebook have been faked.

Lowe serves both as the Catholic Bishop of Auckland and President of the New Zealand Bishops’ Conference.

The fake social media accounts impersonating Lowe have surfaced on Meta’s Facebook and Messenger platforms and, in responding to the data breach, Lowe wishes it to be known that he will not send friend requests or contact anyone through social media.

The NZCBC also warns that his email account may have been falsified.

Commenting on the NZCBC Facebook post, Bernard Liddington suggests the fake account was obvious as the gender was erroneously listed as female.

In another comment, Stephen Kennedy quipped “So he’s not coming for tea tomorrow night? But I’m making my special potato bake just like he asked.”

Mark Chang commented with a tongue-in-cheek remark, “All part of God’s plan, surely?”

At the time of writing, another person linked the data breach with Satan.

The Bishops’ Conference recently ran a campaign to help people stay safe online.

They suggested people learn more about Facebook privacy, do a Facebook privacy check-up and manage their Facebook privacy settings.

Facebook and its associated applications – Instagram, WhatsApp, and its most recent application, Threads (a Twitter clone) – are owned by the parent company, Meta.

These applications are free to use. However, Meta monetises user data to cover costs and provide shareholders with a healthy return.

Unfortunately, fake Facebook and Instagram accounts are common, and Meta has faced numerous privacy concerns stemming partly from its revenue model.

For example, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission imposed a €1.2 billion fine last month against Facebook’s parent, Meta, for failing to comply with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation laws.

According to one source, Meta profits by selling users’ information and through targeting ads, attracting advertisers to its vast trove of data like vultures to carrion.

Donald Trump’s successful use of Facebook data played a part in his election as President of the United States.

Facebook has always assured its users that their information is shared only with their consent and is anonymised before being sold to marketers. However, issues such as data breaches, platform vulnerabilities and the compromise of individual identities and private data regularly occur.

In response to escalating privacy concerns, some government agencies and groups with sensitive data on their work computers have prohibited the use of personal Meta accounts on work computers and mobile devices.

Tech journalist Leo Laporte describes Meta as “capricious”. “If it’s free, then you’re the product” he often says when discussing Facebook’s privacy issues.


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