Facebook 'impostors': Philippines sets inter-agency investigation


Posted at Jun 15 2020 09:06 AM | Updated as of Jun 15 2020 09:14 AM

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MANILA — An inter-agency task force will investigate a recent deluge of impostor accounts on Facebook that used the identities of students, journalists and government officials, the Department of Justice said Monday. 

Users reported some 300 allegedly fake accounts which authorities asked Facebook to take down while saving a copy of their content, said DOJ spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete. 

The National Bureau of Investigation, National Privacy Commission and Department of Information and Communications Technology will look into these accounts, he said. 

"I think within the week iyong task force ay mag-uusap-usap (the task force will meet) to look into the matter, in coordination with Facebook as well," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

The University of the Philippines first flagged the accounts following a protest against the passage of tougher anti-terror legislation. The alleged dummy pages carried names of students who were among 8 arrested at the protest. 

Facebook said last week it had "not seen evidence of the reported accounts engaging in coordinated or malicious activity focused on creating fake accounts." 
The world's largest social media network said it would continue validating the authenticity of user accounts and prioritize the removal of those violating its policies. 

Filipinos top the world in time spent on social media, according to a recent study.

Platforms like Facebook have become political battlegrounds and have helped strengthen President Rodrigo Duterte's support base, having been instrumental in his election victory in 2016 and a rout by his allies in mid-term polls last year.

The Duterte administration has repeatedly denied allegations that it has allowed the abuse and manipulation of social media by its supporters to harass and discredit opponents.

Facebook in May said it estimated the prevalence of fake accounts among its worldwide monthly active users at 5 percent. 

— With a report from Reuters