A Facebook user pretending to be a Politico reporter has befriended dozens of journalists, prompting suspicion about the account owner's motivation. Someone falsely claiming to be a journalist at The Atlantic also has become Facebook friends with prominent journalists. (See UPDATE below.)
Social media is rife with fake accounts. But the profile of "Emma Parker" is striking in that the user posing as a journalist seems to be aggressively targeting real ones.
The motive behind the account may be innocuous or, perhaps, part of an amateurish journalist sting operation.
Either way, "Emma Parker" is now Facebook friends with editors and reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, CNN, ESPN, BuzzFeed -- and Politico.
Journalists from The New York Times and The Guardian advised colleagues in recent days not to take the bait.
There is no "Emma Parker" listed on the Politico masthead and no evidence online that an "Emma Parker" ever worked at the Washington, D.C.-based news organization.
A Politico spokesman did not immediately provide comment.
The "Emma Parker" profile features one photo, which has been used for several different LinkedIn accounts, mostly in Russian, a Google reverse image search reveals.
"Emma Parker" has not responded to a request over Facebook for comment.
UPDATE: 8:43 p.m. -- Several journalists on Twitter and over email mentioned receiving requests from "Anna Goldberg," who claims to work as a journalist at The Atlantic, despite no evidence online that she does.
"Goldberg" has befriended several prominent journalists, from outlets including ABC News, Politico, and IBTimes. A Google reverse image search also led to Russian LinkedIn accounts using "Goldberg's" photo.
An Atlantic spokeswoman said no one by that name works at The Atlantic.