Philippines probes rash of impostor Facebook accounts

Philippines probes rash of impostor Facebook accounts

The Philippines is investigating the proliferation of fake Facebook Inc. accounts using the identities of students and journalists among others.

The Justice Department’s cyber-crime office will coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigation and the police to investigate the matter, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

“This gives me cause for worry,” Guevarra said. “We don’t need false information at a time when we’re dealing with a serious public health crisis.”

While the extent of the incidents have not yet been fully determined, Facebook has been made aware of the matter and an investigation is underway, Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said in a statement.

Students and journalists appear to be targeted. The University of the Philippines’ student regent said there are multiple reports of empty, duplicate and fake accounts bearing names of its students following protests in the campuses. This was first reported by U.P. Cebu’s official student publication Tugani, which said it found fake accounts of student activists who were arrested in an anti-terrorism bill protest on June 5.

FAKE ACCOUNTS and Mark Zuckerberg have been trending in the Philippines with 63,400 and 31,400 tweets respectively, according to Twitter. The hashtag #HandsOffOurStudents appeared in nearly 30,000 tweets on Sunday.

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