FHSAA urges caution over high school sports fake broadcast links
High school sports fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite prep athletes in the FHSAA state playoffs should take caution with social media accounts purporting to provide live streams free or at cost.
Fake broadcast links and accounts have proliferated on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook claiming to live stream high school sports events.
FHSAA public relations specialist Ashton Moseley said the organization comes across fake links targeting high school sports fans on a weekly basis.
Automated spam accounts repopulate as quickly as they're reported and banned in a constant game of digital whack-a-mole.
"If it looks suspicious, it probably is," Moseley said. "A lot of accounts use images from the FHSAA, GoFan, NFHS Network, and other popular accounts, so look for the verified checkmark. If there is no check, it is likely spam.
"All broadcasts in the postseason are required to be approved by our office so check with us first, if you have questions or are unsure about a link. For regular season contests, reach out to the schools involved."
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Fake broadcast accounts on Twitter often blast out links to matchups across Florida, tagging coaches, team accounts and players to increase their post's reach.
High school and team accounts around the state have played a hand in spreading and tamping down on the scams.
Palm Beach Central's official football and athletic department Twitter accounts shared a pair of fake links ahead of a highly-anticipated Wellington Cup rivalry game with the Wolverines in late October.
On Oct. 14, Benjamin head football coach Eric Kresser tweeted to steer fans away from a spam account advertising the Bucs' matchup against Champagnat Catholic.
In Tallahassee, the official Twitter account for Lawton Chiles High School retweeted a link purporting to broadcast the Timberwolves volleyball team's state tournament game against Niceville in early October.
The now defunct account (@TodayHSLive) branded itself as the "official Twitter account of USA TODAY High School Sports Live" and included USA Today Sports logos in its avatar image.
The Palm Beach Post is part of Gannett's USA Today Network.
Moseley said approximately a dozen schools and fans have reached out to the FHSAA due to issues relating to the fake high school sports broadcasts since 2020.
Eric J. Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.