Catfish

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What Does Catfish Mean?

Catfish is a term for a situation where a user is impersonating someone else online and/or in some digital interactions. Issues around catfish illustrate many of the legal and social complications of identity theft, false identities and deceptive digital media practices.

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Techopedia Explains Catfish

A catfish may take control of another user’s profile, or create a false profile purporting to be that person. In many cases, a catfish acts aggressively toward other users, or acts in a way that tarnishes the other person’s reputation. A catfish may also act deceptively to take advantage of some strategy to acquire the other person’s assets, manipulate friends and family members, or harm that person emotionally. In other cases, catfishing is just a prank. Catfish has become a general term to talk about how it is possible to become an imposter or impersonate someone else on social media or online.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.