Duplicate, fake FB accounts surge in PH

A lot of Facebook users have been busy checking for duplicate accounts today as more Filipinos share posts on their timeline asking for help to report the fake profiles.

Initially, students and alumni of the University of the Philippines are assumed to be target of this massive social media cloning campaign. However, other random netizens started sharing proofs that they too have dummy accounts.

Facebook has yet to release a statement regarding the incident. This has been causing unnecessary panic online saying that these faceless dummy accounts might be used for fraud and other malicious activities.

The Department of Justice – Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) released an advisory earlier today encouraging everyone to report directly to them any related incidents. They also advised users to report the fake accounts to Facebook.

“Please be reminded that the intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right, and with or without damage, is a crime denominated as Computer-related Identity-Theft, which is defined and penalized under Section 4 (b)(3) of R.A. No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” says DOJ-OOC on their Facebook Page.

“Any person found guilty of the said offense shall be IMPRISONED for 6 years and 1 day to 12 years or shall be FINED at least Php200,000.00 up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred, or BOTH.”

Cybersecurity Philippines CERT also released a separate notice on their Facebook Page asking affected users to report the issue to the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

It’s still unknown whether this incident was initiated by paid online trolls to counter the massive calls to junk the Anti-Terrorism Bill or if this is a Facebook bug that got triggered after a recent update on the social media platform. What’s happening today though should be a wake up call to everyone to pay extra attention in securing their online accounts even in social media.

***Updates***

June 7, 2020: Facebook issued an official statement. The social media giant is already “investigating reports of suspicious activity on our platform and taking action on any accounts that we find to be in violation of our policies.”

NPC’s Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro released a statement as well that they are “monitoring reports about the proliferation of alleged impostor FB accounts that have victimized Filipino data subjects.”

On a separate statement, the Department of Information and Communications Technology posted their statement via their official Facebook Page instructing their “Cyber Security Bureau to actively coordinate with law enforcement agencies and provide the necessary technical assistance on information sharing and analysis needed to address this matter.”

Photo Credit: https://about.fb.com/

Fjordan Allego
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