(Originally appeared in the Connecticut Post)
BRIDGEPORT — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano is, by virtue of his position, a forgiving man. So when a Facebook impostor set up a fake page recently, the spiritual leader asked for prayers for the offender.
“I ask if you receive a friend request or message from one of these fake accounts, that you report it to Facebook,’’ the bishop wrote on his real page last week.
Caggiano suggested that there may be more than one fake account, and that the impostor copied the bishop’s profile picture, cover photo, and biography, and has sent friend requests to his Facebook followers.
The bishop has a very active social media presence, posting on Facebook almost daily and uploading photos, videos and links. Caggiano also lets his followers choose his cover photo each month, tallying up the likes and comments each selection gets.
The Bridgeport diocese also has separate accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, Soundcloud, Snapchat and Periscope. All of those are overseen by John Grosso, the social media manager for the diocese.
Grosso said Wednesday that when he noticed the fake page using the bishop’s name and images, he contacted Facebook immediately.
“They took it down within minutes,’’ Grosso said. “It happened before, too, and they also took the fake page down as soon as I told them about it.’’
“You get a friend request from a name you recognize, but if you accept, the scammer behind the fake page can get whatever he’s after,” Grosso said. “You might be sent a link that could infect your computer or a money request from some far-off prince.’’
Caggiano manages his own social media accounts, Grosso said, “but sometimes I facilitate them for him,. and I monitor them.’’
He also maintains the diocese’s separate accounts.
“There is no diocese in the U.S. that has the social media reach and capabilities than ours in Bridgeport has,’’ Grosso said.
Attendees at a general synod in 2014 recommended that the diocese reach out to younger parishioners and find new ways to communicate to all of the Catholics in the region.
Caggiano hired Grosso in January, 2015 to be the full-time social media manager.