Police disown fake accounts on Facebook

The Philippine National Police on Thursday denied owning fake accounts taken down by Facebook due to “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

PNP spokesperson Col. Ysmael Salonga Yu said in an interview on Balitanghali, heard nationwide, that PNP chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan had ordered the Information Technology Management Service to look into the accounts of the police organization’s sub-offices and Police Regional Offices.

This emerged as the National Privacy Commission, which safeguards the fundamental human right of every individual to privacy, particularly information privacy while ensuring free flow of information for innovation, growth and national development, said in a statement it wanted a deeper probe of Facebook and told this social media giant “to do more to protect its users.”

Commissioner Raymund Liboro, in a statement released to the media, said: “We are initiating a deeper probe on Facebook’s proposed preventive actions regarding the proliferation of suspicious accounts as such activities on the platform continue to threaten the personal data privacy and other security-related rights of its Filipino users.”

Facebook said it “removed two separate networks for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. One of these networks originated in China and the other in the Philippines.”

Liboro said: “Under the network that originated in the Philippines, they ‘removed 57 Facebook accounts, 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.’”

Liboro said the NPC sent a letter Thursday inviting Facebook to appear before the Commission “as we seek for more details from its findings.”

It was not immediately known what Facebook answer was to the invitation.

In a related development, detained opposition Sen. Leila De Lima said she welcomed Facebook’s preventive measure to dismantle and double down on the “Rodrigo Duterte-Sara Duterte fake accounts and pages” as the 2022 election year was approaching amid the pandemic.

“We cannot simply forget that Facebook’s security and privacy issues had also compromised our national election in 2016,” said De Lima.

She expressed hope Facebook would do a constant sanitation and clearing up of its extremely large “cyber-space of all Duterte-China social media parasites.”

She added: ‘I also hope FB will no longer allow its platform to become a factory of coordinated lies and disinformation.”

In his statement, Liboro said: “This is not our first encounter with Facebook. You may recall that in 2018, the Commission probe into the exploitation of the ‘View As’ feature to extract user’s access tokens without their consent resulted into an order to comply with the provisions of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, such as establishing a dedicated help desk for Filipino data subjects on privacy related matters.

“Now, we call again for Facebook’s compliance with laws, rules, and regulations under our jurisdiction. “This ensures that responsible social media platforms shall elevate their community standards to a level that adequately protects the data privacy rights of Filipino data subjects and rights to free speech and expression.

“It is incumbent on us at the National Privacy Commission to step up our action especially on platforms, like Facebook that is considered as one of the biggest holders and processors of personal data.”

Topics: Philippine National Police , Ysmael Salonga Yu , Facebook , Camilo Cascolan , Leila De Lima , National Privacy Commission
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