A page on Facebook that purported to be the official account of British street artist Banksy was stripped of its verified status earlier this afternoon. The page has about 2.4 million likes and posts several items a day, which, given Banksy’s notoriously shadowy reputation, seemed odd, but the little blue check mark seemed to confirm its authenticity. In Facebook’s own language, if a page is verified, you can “be sure that [the page operators] are who they claim to be.”
Knowing that Banksy authenticates nearly everything he does on his website, and that the @banksyny Instagram account is the only social media outlet the artist has verified himself, we contacted Jo Brooks, his publicist, who told us the Facebook was “100 percent fake.”
We reached out to Facebook, and the mark was pulled down in a matter of hours.
The company received a request to verify the page from an administrator in Febraury 2014, a representative told ANIMAL via email: “We investigated the legitimacy of the administrator and believed that they were representative of the artist, so we approved the request to verify the Page.”
She added, “It has been brought to our attention that this verification was made in error and we have unverified the page.”