How many Zuckerbergs does it take to make a Google+? And how many of them can be fake or fleeting? In the past 24 hours, at least three profiles bearing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's name have appeared on Google+, Google's take on the social network: "Fake Zuckerberg," "Mark Zuckerberg" (started today), and "Mark Zuckerberg" (started yesterday).
Twitter is all over it. The first Zuckerberg, which showed the social-media mogul smiling and talking trash, now returns a page-not-found error (here's a tweeted screen grab). Fake Zuckerberg was also short-lived (tweeted screen grab). The second Zuckerberg profile is still up, but silent--no posts.
Odds are yesterday's snarky "Mark Zuckerberg" was fake and related to "Fake Zuckerberg." The photo was Zuckerberg's familiar smiling Facebook photo. A screen grab shows that this photo was also originally used on the Fake Zuckerberg account, then quickly changed to a photo of Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who played Zuckerberg in the movie "The Social Network."
But the second Mark Zuckerberg profile, put up shortly after the first was taken down, is harder to dismiss. The non-smiling profile picture--an apparent cell phone or a Webcam shot--is not easily found elsewhere. A TinEye search turned up only the Zuckerberg Google+ profile image.
Google doesn't authenticate users. According to a Google spokesperson:
When you sign-up for Google+, there is no authentication process. As with many of our products, we rely on our users and the community to report any impersonations. We then review these reports and act accordingly. You can try to determine if someone is who they claim to be by viewing their profile, posts, etc. Or if you know them, you can contact them directly.
Facebook hasn't responded to CNET's requests to verify the second Zuckerberg Google+ profile. As of this afternoon, the second Zuckerberg followed 16 people, including some Facebook staffers.
Admission to the field trial of Google+ is by invitation only, so I wonder who invited Zuckerberg. Late last night Google shut down Google+ invites. No new Mark Zuckerberg profiles--at least for a little while.