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Philippines Sees Alarming Surge in Fake Facebook Accounts

The Philippine authorities and Facebook are investigating the rise of fake accounts in the country over the weekend. Reports of fake users copying people’s names surged over the weekend on the social media platform.

Users, including a number of students and journalists, have appealed about the proliferation of fake accounts. Critics say that it is a form of cyber-harassment as it targeted those who are vocal about issues in the country.

The technology company faced criticism after the company sent replies to reports. According to the Facebook team, the accounts did not violate the platform’s community guidelines.

Some users even report more than a dozen accounts under their names with empty profiles. The creating of the accounts and who was behind these fake accounts remains uncertain.

Technology news reports also said that the company is already looking into the suspicious activities that are ongoing. The news also reached international media as it was a rare occurrence.

In an official statement, the company encourages its users in the Philippines to continue reporting accounts that appear to be inauthentic. According to the social media giant, it’s taking action on the accounts that it finds violating its policies.

Moreover, the alarming rise of fake accounts in the country comes amidst major polarization over the anti-terror bill.

Citizens have cried about the anti-terrorism bill saying that it could take away the freedom of speech.

Public debates about current affairs in the Philippines shifted to social media platforms such as Facebook because of the lockdowns.

Furthermore, Philippine Senator Francis Pangilinan said that major targets of the heinous acts are very vocal college students. 

Government’s Investigation

The Philippines’ Department of Justice will launch its investigation over the sudden surge in fake Facebook accounts. Additionally, through the development of modern technology, the country now has its cybercrime office.

According to Justice chief Menardo Guevarra, he will direct the office to coordinate with the National Bureau of Investigations and the national police over the matter.

In a message, Guevarra said that the country doesn’t need more false information at this time of crisis.

The DOJ’s cybercrime office said that those affected by fake accounts should report it to them. The spread of fake accounts is similar to identity theft which is punishable in the Philippines under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

A spokesperson from the DOJ said that it is a serious violation of the country’s criminal laws on cybercrime.

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