Facebook urged to probe fake accounts, online threats vs Anti-Terror bill critics


Posted at Jun 08 2020 05:32 PM

MANILA - Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has urged social media giant Facebook to look into the rise of online threats and the creation of fake accounts targeting critics of the Anti-Terror bill.

Fake accounts of students, teachers and even lawmakers who opposed the passage of the Anti-Terror bill have been made over the weekend, with some of the bogus profiles sending threats to real students, said Pangilinan, who spotted 5 fake accounts using his name.

"The students are worried that these accounts may be used to plant bogus evidence that would implicate them in crimes outlined in the anti-terror bill," Pangilinan said in a statement.

"We demand that Facebook investigate this incident and find the culprits behind it," he said.

"We must not allow social media to be used as a platform for identity theft, intimidation, or worse a tool to plant bogus evidence," he said.

The #JunkTerrorBill has been trending online for several days as Filipino netizens feared that the proposed measure may be used to jail anyone who criticizes the government.

The Department of Justice already ordered an investigation into the surge of fake social media accounts after Anti-Terror bill protests.

"This gives me cause for worry. We don't need false information at a time when we're dealing with a serious public health crisis," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said.

Facebook has committed to look into the issue after the National Privacy Commission flagged that the fake accounts may expose sensitive information about legitimate users.

"We encourage people to report any accounts they believe may be inauthentic via our easy-to-use reporting tools," Facebook said.

The social media giant estimates that only 5 percent of its worldwide monthly active users are fake.