I glanced over to see whether he might be having some trouble navigating his computer. The separator between my desk and his was small, so I could see most of what he was doing. To my shock and horror, he was on Facebook, as Julie Gichuru! The reason for his frantic clicking was because he was rejecting and accepting the flood of friend requests that were coming into the 'Julie Gichuru' profile.
Seeing that a tall, dark man was browsing Facebook under the guise of being Julie Gichuru, a petite, light skinned TV anchor, I was intrigued. My eyes remained glued to his screen. Lucky for me, the man was engrossed in his activities, so he was not perturbed by my intrusive stare. It was interesting to see the amount of activity on this "Julie Gichuru" profile. There were hundreds of pending friend requests, messages and notifications waiting for the man to read. Notably, the man was filtering through the friend requests, quickly accepting friend requests from women and swiftly rejecting friend requests from men.
After he was done with the pending friend requests, he turned to "Julie Gichuru's" inbox, where there were many girls who were pouring their hearts out to "Julie" as her adoring fans. The man didn't seem to be interested in any of these love letters. After several messages, the man finally stopped to focus on one. He did a small celebratory gesture with his hands when he saw this message. There was a young woman who seemed to be having trouble searching for a job. She went on to tell "Julie Gichuru" about her troubles while tarmacking, and how she would appreciate if "Julie" were to look for a job opening for her in Citizen TV. The man replied to this inbox, saying that he will get the lady a job, if only she sent money via MPESA to a certain phone number. Minutes later, there was a ring on the man's phone. He woke up and went to the MPESA agent at that cyber cafe and withdrew some money. He then returned to his dubious Facebook browsing. What's more, the man later logged out as "Julie Gichuru" and logged in as "Maina Kageni!" He continued to withdraw money from the nearby MPESA at intervals during his browsing session.
Presumably the money he withdrew from MPESA was from some of the desperate women who he had told to send money in order for one of his fake celebrity profiles to land them a job.
How To Stop This Guy And Similar Conmen
From my analysis of the whole situation, the man in the story was exploiting a loophole in how celebrities market their Facebook profiles. Take for example Maina Kageni. He tells his listeners, "talk to me on my Facebook page," and that's it. What people then do is go to Facebook.com and search for "Maina Kageni." A host of profiles come up in the search results, and only one is the legitimate Maina Kageni. However, Facebook has no way of verifying which profile is the real Maina, so it's up to the users to guess which one. Some might end up clicking on a fake profile which a conman has set up, which leads them to a situation like the one I have narrated above.
Celebrities need to stop telling their fans just to look them on Facebook. What celebrities need to do is to tell their fans "My Facebook page is facebook.com/soandso" to make sure that people do not confuse them with the fake profiles.
You can also help stop this practice by sharing this story with your friends, so click the share button below and tell your Facebook or Twitter followers.