Are there fake versions of you on Facebook? The social media network’s Filipino users have discovered dummy accounts made under their names this weekend. Aside from making them “befriend” the report button, this spike of fake accounts prompted netizens to post advisories on their Facebook walls certifying their only accounts and urging their friends to help them report their impersonators as well.
According to Inquirer, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra is ordering their cybercrime office to immediately coordinate with the respective cybercrime units of the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police as well.
Earlier in the day, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) also released a statement regarding the proliferation of alleged impostor Facebook accounts reported to them mostly by academic institutions. Aside from monitoring the situation, the commission also announced that they have forwarded the complaints to Facebook.
As a response, the social media network’s representative in the Philippines Clare Amador said that they are already investigating the matter and gathering other information about the spike of unauthorized accounts. In the meantime, NPC urges everyone to report the fake accounts directly to Facebook.
Among the first universities to raise concerns about the matter is the University of the Philippines (UP). According to its public advisory, both its students and alumni have reported fake or dummy Facebook accounts made under their names. Lending a hand, UP also said that their System Data Protection Officer has already reached out to NPC regarding the matter.
PUBLIC ADVISORY: UP has received reports that fake or dummy Facebook accounts have been created for UP students and alumni. We urge the members of the UP community to check their names and accounts and to make the proper report to the Data Protection Officer of Facebook. pic.twitter.com/TLIeLkwX2P
— University of the Philippines (@upsystem) June 7, 2020
A statement from the UP Office of the Student Regent also noted that the multiple reports of empty, duplicate and fake accounts which bore the names of the university’s students came after the protests in UP campuses and threats to their students.
The statement noted that the incidents was “first reported by Tug-ani where reports show accounts copying the names of UP Cebu students after the arrest of our fellow students during their peaceful protest last 05 June 2020.”
Ateneo de Manila University also issued an advisory from their Data Protection Office about the reports of hacking and cloning on Facebook which has been victimizing their students and personnel.
The De La Salle University (DLSU) also issued an official statement asking students, alumni and faculty to remain vigilant against those posing as members of the DLSU community. They also warned everyone to refrain from responding or clicking links in suspicious email or friend requests as a precautionary measure.
UNIVERSITY: DLSU releases an official statement imploring everyone to “remain vigilant” online after a reported emergence of suspicious Facebook accounts bearing the names of students, alumni, and faculty. | via @DLSUManila pic.twitter.com/0GkzdLi3Hd
— The LaSallian (@TheLaSallian) June 7, 2020
The University of the East also called their community’s attention to the matter after receiving various reports as well. Aside from sharing a step-by-step process of reporting accounts directly to Facebook, the university also said that they have raised the matter to NPC in order to help those who had been affected by the spike of dummy accounts already.
The Philippine National University also encouraged all of their faculty members, administrative staff, students and alumni to check their names and report suspicious accounts to Facebook.
Header photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash
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Writer: YANN MAGCAMIT