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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.
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.