It doesn’t take much for a young and attractive woman in a male-dominated trade to stand out on social media.
Particularly if they are willing to put themselves out there as Annabel Anderson was.
Yes, this can create unwanted attention but it also creates influencer opportunities if one is willing to endure some of the negativity.
But this story isn’t about becoming an influencer. Instead, what’s interesting about this case is that Annabel Anderson doesn’t exist.
Fake Facebook Profiles
Fake Facebook profiles are nothing unusual. In fact, Facebook has come under fire for not doing enough to prevent and eliminate these fake personas.
As a result, many fake accounts are created for a variety of reasons:
- Trolls can say controversial things
- Cyberbullying without consequence
- To anonymously stalk people
- Scamming people out of money
- To influence politically
Others, try to get past that first layer of security to scrape some of your personal information.
You know, in your settings where you don’t want the public to see certain things but it’s OK if your “friends” do?
These are just some of the typical reasons that fake accounts are made.
In fact, as I’m writing this I’ve learned that the Beastmixer account on Instagram has just been hacked as reported on Jason Shalata’s personal account.
But, the persona of Annabel Anderson doesn’t fit into any of these reasons for creating a fake account.
‘Annabel’ was created by someone we all know.
Annabel comes on the scene
In January of 2022, a Facebook account was created for the “character” of Annabel Anderson.
Annabel presented herself as a tile setter that was joining the tile communities on Facebook, such as Tile Geeks and Global Tile Posse, and looking to learn more and better herself in the trade.
It didn’t take long before she connected with others in the tile community. One of those people was Katie Marcotte of Maine Modern Tile.
Katie is a leader in the tile industry and an active, voting member of the NTCA. She tries to remain alert to new members of the community and help where she can.
So, it’s no surprise that Marcotte and Annabel connected early on and developed a friendly relationship.
The Tile Cartel
It wasn’t just Annabel either. No, there were at least three fake accounts that were created at similar times.
The other two were named Jacob Cardoso and Frank Maxwell.
Further, all three of these fake accounts would become admin or moderators of a new tile group: Tile Cartel.
Why this tile group was created is not clear. But this group needed more than just fake accounts to legitimize it. It needed real moderators and members.
With this in mind, the Cardoso personality reached out to both Katie and Joseph Mattice of On the Level Tile, another active and involved NTCA member, and persuaded them to come on as mods.
Annabel made it known that she would be attending, for the first time, Coverings, the largest US tile trade show that was held in Las Vegas this year.
As a result, she RSVP’d to the women’s only breakfast and claimed to be looking forward to meeting others in real life.
As you can guess, she was a no-show at the breakfast and strangely, just seemed to miss running into anyone.
Blowing it up
After it was all said and done, people started posting their photos on social media. Annabel didn’t seem to be in any of the photos and no one could remember seeing her in passing or at any of the events.
Suspicions crept in and some did a deep dive into her record of social media posts.
What they found is that several of the photos that she presented as herself were actually from the Instagram account of a German tile setter named Anne Heidrich.
Other photos were similarly stolen from other places. One thing is apparent: Annabel isn’t whom she seems.
Both Joseph and Katie were tipped off and they promptly and publicly alerted the Facebook tile community.
All three fake accounts have been deactivated and, with no admin, Facebook automatically archived the Tile Cartel group.
As mentioned in the beginning, fake accounts are nothing new and will always be an issue in social media. Probably TikTok, also, as it gains popularity.
However, all signs point to the person behind the fake accounts as being someone in the tile community.
Someone that we likely know, have met, and interacted with. Someone who, likely, attended both Coverings and TISE, another tile-related trade show held a few months prior.
In the immediate aftermath, Katie was hesitant to reach out to unfamiliar people in the groups for fear of being deceived again.
“It hurts, knowing that this is probably someone that knows me yet still wanted to interact with me through deception,” says Marcotte.
But after processing the experience for a short period of time, she’s back to taking the lead and watching for those that she may be able to help.
She says “I’m just a little more careful now.”
The Unanswered Questions
Behind the scenes, there’s been a lot of collecting and examining data to try to determine who the community member is behind the scheme.
Whomever it is, finding out the reasons behind the elaborate hoax is another thing. We can’t help but ask:
- Who was behind these fake accounts?
- Why did they create them?
- What did they hope to gain?
One could chalk it up to simply a troll doing troll things. But it certainly seems like there was a longer-term strategy with a patient manipulator content to see things through.
What do you think?
What’s your theory on why the fake accounts were made?
Do you have any info on Annabel Anderson or “her friends”? Please reach out to me. I’d love to talk to you and anonymity is guaranteed.