Who has been impersonating Norman Lamb MP online?

Last week, someone set up on Facebook both a fake profile of Norman Lamb MP and a related fake group:

Norman Lamb Facebook profile screenshot

Fake Norman Lamb Facebook group screenshot

Whoever did it, clearly went to some effort, including setting up a Hotmail address in Norman Lamb’s name – [email protected] and adding a couple of photos featuring Norman (one of which looked like it had been edited to drop in his head into a photo that didn’t originally feature him at all).

Credit where credit is due, Facebook responded very quickly when contacted about this. However, in line with their usual privacy policy they aren’t willing to reveal any information about who may have created it.

So what can we tell about who might have done it and why? From the content on the profile and group, there is one clue. At 8.39am on Thursday 9 August this posting was made by the fake Norman Lamb (one of only three made in total):

Norman Lamb fake Facebook message screenshotLooking forward to the next General Election!

We are ready for it. My Conservative rival is called Trevor Ivory. Here is his blog:
http://www.trevor-ivory.blogspot.com

Given that the overwhelming majority of MP and candidate groups / profiles on Facebook don’t mention their rival at all, it’s very odd that this one should have. (In fact, on a quick look now at several, I couldn’t find any which do).

Therefore this is only circumstantial evidence, but one obvious possibility is that it was a Conservative who faked the profile and group in the hope of raising the profile of Norman Lamb’s opponent.

Of course, Conservatives do have a very controversial recent record when it comes to faking things online (such as the Grant Shapps YouTube and Tim Crowley incidents).

How would we know for sure? Well, just get in touch [email protected] and tell us who you are!

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This entry was posted in Online politics.
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30 Comments

  • Whatever Facebook’s “normal privacy policy” the Data Protection Act doesn’t apply when the police are investigating a crime, such as one under the Forgery Act. I would report this to the police and let Mr Ivory or whoever explain himself.

  • The Conservatives are totally immoral and corrupted; they don’t hesitate to use any means, be it lies or impersonation, to have their way. I hope they will be one day be wiped out from the political landscape.

  • Peter Welch 13th Aug '07 - 4:50pm

    I may be wrong, but wasn’t Trevor Ivory the blogger who achieved widespread press coverage by calling for Blair to commit suicide?

    Hold on, I have answered my own question: it was.

    DailyRecord.co.uk

    Ivory wrote: “I agree entirely, although I think that Blair’s resignation and suicide might cheer his own party (and the rest of us) up a little.”

  • Have you tried logging into that hotmail account? I’m guessing the password might be “1234” …

  • Daniel Bowen 14th Aug '07 - 7:53am

    Why did Tory MP Rob Wilson fail to sack his agent and local councillor David Ashman when convicted of not only drink driving but fleeing the scene after he crashed his car?

    Ashman was then spotted as the contact for a Wilson publicity stunt campaigning against student ‘binge drinking’ – hypocrisy itself given what he had done only months earlier.

  • James Becks 15th Aug '07 - 1:12pm

    I know for a fact it was a UKIP activist trying to use the group to stitch up Norman Lamb and when everyone realized it was fake they would turn on his rival Trevor Ivory. The person wanted the Eastern Daily Press to blame Trevor and then when it is revealed that it couldn’t have been him no one would believe a word the Eastern Daily Press says about Norman Lamb. It was a long shot way to reduce the credibility of the Eastern Daily Press too making it easier for the UKIP candidate to get elected. By the way the UKIP candidate knew nothing about this.

  • JonathanFryer 15th Aug '07 - 8:42pm

    The issue of Facebook identity theft or impersonation is troubling, despite the occasional funny elements. There is, for example, a Jeremy Thorpe profile, which is of course not him, but which several LibDems have nonetheless befriended. According to Nick Cohen, the David Miliband profile is false too — and he set up a group (largely for journalists) as a consequence (which you can find listed on the groups on my perfectly genuine profile!).

  • Why did anyone ever even entertain the “1234” idea? The minimum password length is 6 digits!

  • Charlotte Steels 18th Aug '07 - 9:14pm

    The group looks very positive. I bet it was setup by a supporter of Norman Lamb who wanted to get a lot of support for him and then when Norman noticed the profile could take over. I reckon pretending to be Norman was a way to get more people joining the group. In terms of the e-mail I reckon most of the e-mails would be forwarded to Norman himself. So I reckon this person was an assistant of Norman Lamb.

    I bet the Tory reference was just so Norman could show he was not scared of his rival. I think everyone has missed the point and tried to pin it on the Tories. I think its a shame when I always thought politics in North Norfolk was positive.

  • Charlotte Steels 18th Aug '07 - 9:16pm

    When I say supporter I mean a closet supporter who Norman Lamb didn’t know about. Norman is a role model for some you know.

  • Nice idea but the person that set up the group using the [email protected] email address has an identical IP address to a person who vandalised Norman Lamb’s wikipedia page adding POV comments about campaigning and local issues. The same person also added a link from the wikipedia page to a facebook group called “Norman Lamb accountability society” which is essentially a mouthpiece for someone that doesn’t like Mr Lamb. The original Norman lamb profile, the accountability society and the wikipedia link where all created on or near August 9th, so presumably they all come from either the same person or group of people.

  • Alex Solomon 19th Aug '07 - 5:18pm

    Charlotte Steels I think has got it right. I reckon the IP address story is mistaken rather than misleading. I think perhaps someone saw someone was trying to target Mr Lamb and an activist was responding to it by setting up a group and a profile to show Lamb has massive support. I can’t see the Tories gaining from setting up a group in favour of Norman Lamb. Absolutely no gain at all.

  • Every comment from a new commenter proclaiming the Tories’ innocence just encourages me to think it was a Tory behind this…

    Alex, how do you explain that the person behind the norman_lamb hotmail address made numerous negative edits to Wikipedia?

  • “Norman Lamb accountability society” has been on Facebook since April. I know because a female invited me to join then.

  • Alex Solomon 19th Aug '07 - 5:45pm

    I’m just looking at all the evidence. The Tories want to end their negative perception and I have heard them say they will just ignore the Liberals. People have been telling me the Tories don’t want to get involved in sleaze politics because it’s wrong and more importantly they would not get away with it.

    This IP address story has been made without the necessary evidence. I have to presume the Tories innocent until proven guilty. Otherwise I am not on a liberal website!

  • 18: Ah, one of these Earth “females” I’ve heard so much about.

    19: What necessary evidence is missing? The Facebook group was set up from an email address belonging to someone who made negative edits to Norman’s Wikipedia page, which heavily indicates that they are not a Norman fan. What part of that do you dispute?

  • Again, a lovely idea, but at least from my end, the facts don’t add up. When I saw this post last Monday I wanted to have a look at the group on facebook. When i went there, the profile no longer existed, but there was a Norman Lamb accountability society. Having looked at the screenshots of the original profile on here i noticed a couple of similarities between the two and wondered whether there was anyway to confirm it. I sent an email to each of the two email addresses, both times purporting to be someone who was outraged at Mr Lambs activities as reported in the accountability group. both email addresses were hotmail accounts and hotmail emails hold the original sender’s IP address in the file header information so if the two were the same, then they were sent from the same computer. A couple of days later I received an email from [email protected] stating: “I’m afraid what is written about me is true.” A strange statement if this is indeed a lamb fan. I tried to trace the IP address but got no further than that the network provider was a company in Ipswich. I then tried my luck at a google search of the address and the only page that came back was a cached wikipedia page showing how this IP address had been blocked for constantly adding derogatory point-of-view statements to Norman Lamb’s profile. Therefore it seems that whoever this person is, they are not a fan of Mr Lamb. The email sent to the other email address was never returned so unfortunately I can’t confirm my first theory that they are one and the same. However, as I said previously, the last wikipedia entry and the two groups were all created on the 9th August so it seems unlikely that all were created independently.

    Perhaps both Alex and Charlotte are correct and this is a stunt gone wrong but the facts, at least as far as a I can see them, point to someone without a Norman Lamb connection.

  • Anonymous may well be correct about the creation of the group in April, however vast edits were made to it on august 9th by the creator. That could of course be a response to the Norman Lamb profile going up but still it seems to me that the norman lamb profile originally came from someone without a liking for norman lamb.

  • I reckon it was someone who disliked both Norman Lamb and Trevor Ivory. Maybe they wanted to stitch up Norman in the short run and then when news of the fake profile came out could pin it on Ivory. It could have been someone disappointed by both with no party ties maybe.

  • Jason Anyassor 19th Aug '07 - 6:21pm

    Anonymous is probably right about someone who did not like Lamb or Ivory. However I reckon its more likely to be for political reasons. I don’t understand why we are naturally pointing at the Tories. If we do we are conceding they are a real political threat in North Norfolk. Wouldn’t surprise me if Labour played this cheap trick. The Daily Mirror had an insider in the Tories. Daily Mirror has connections to Labour. Maybe they are trying to destroy two political candidates in one act but at least failed with Norman.

  • Grace Clarke 19th Aug '07 - 6:58pm

    ‘hotmail emails hold the original sender’s IP address in the file header information so IF the two were the same, then they were sent from the same computer.’

    May I point out Harry used the word if in the bit I quoted.

    We still haven’t been told what the IP address is.

  • Sarah Makepeace 19th Aug '07 - 7:22pm

    “I’m afraid what is written about me is true.”

    At first sight it sounds like not a fan. However as a psychologist I can tell you maybe just maybe the fan realises that there is evidence out there which could be used against Norman Lamb and therefore felt it was better to confess to the accusations. By confessing the fan makes Norman look more honest and reduces the mistrust which the group inspires. Also it makes it appear that Norman Lamb is out there working very hard for the constituency when it appears he knows there is dangerous evidence out there against him.

    By the way what I have said above is just a theory. It’s a theory as much as everyone else’s explanation.

  • I reckon the fan was blocked from Norman’s wikipedia for just editing it. I reckon many IPs have been blocked from that website for well intentioned reasons as well as sinister ones. Quite often the person who setup the page does not want others having control too. Even positive information should be released at a later date so politicians popularity does not dip after a sudden peak.

    I think we Liberals want to believe it was the Tories, but I honestly think they have more sense believe it or not.

  • To answer Grace Clarke’s IF statement. Yes I used IF as a qualifier because my original theory required have both replies from both emails, but as I only got one I cannot say what the other was. I have no idea whether it was the same or different. therefore, IF they were the same then true, IF not, then not.

    Simply, i’m not going to give out someone’s IP address on a public forum, as it is literally the address of their own computer. Just do some research – Go to Norman Lamb’s wikipedia page and have a look at the history. You will see a list of all the previous entries to the page. The IP address I have from the email is the same as the one that posted extensively in April and once at 14:54 on August 9th. You can then all have a look at the entries and decide for yourselves.

    To clarify some butter, I am neither a Lamb fan or foe, and in fact had never heard of him until I stumbled upon this post a week ago. I have no idea who is correct about him. I personally don’t think this is some conspiracy by conservative central to bring down the mighty lamb reich, but neither do I think it some double-double bluff by a lamb worker. From what I have seen, Occam’s razor still rules: Someone just doesn’t like how Norman lamb has done things and wanted to have a bit of fun.

  • Shane Cruise 20th Aug '07 - 1:17pm

    Harry is right not to give out someone’s IP address on a forum website. The best we can do is take his word for it is that the person of one e-mail is the same as another who wrote on Norman Lamb’s wikipedia page.

    I think Mary Samson is right though that sometimes you want to write something positive about someone on a Wikipedia page, but those who setup the page delete it because they don’t like someone writing on the page stuff which looks too positively personal. Also the person who setup the page may want complete control.

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