MANILA, Philippines — Netizens across the country expressed concern over cybersecurity risks and possible dangers posed by empty, fake accounts that startled the local Facebook community on Sunday (June 7).
The University of the Philippines (UP) first notified the public about the proliferation of dummy accounts initially targeted students and alumni of the University.
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
Later on, the impersonation has allegedly expanded to include duplication of journalists’ personal accounts.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it has already notified Facebook Philippines on the matter and is working closely with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in addressing complaints and potential risks to privacy of the proliferation of impostor FB accounts.
“According to Ms. Clare Amador, Facebook Representative in the Philippines, they are already investigating this particular matter as well as other information on unauthorized FB accounts. Meanwhile, the Privacy Commissioner has instructed Facebook to report its significant findings as soon as it becomes available,” NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro confirmed in a statement.
The DICT said it has instructed its Cybersecurity Bureau to coordinate with law enforcement agencies to provide technical assistance on information sharing and analysis needed to address the matter.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also expressed concern about the issue.
“This gives me cause for worry. We don’t need false information at a time when we’re dealing with a serious public health crisis,” he said.
“I will immediately direct the DOJ Office of the Cybercrime to coordinate with the NBI and PNP Cybercrime units to promptly investigate the apparent proliferation of fake or dummy accounts on Facebook,” he assured.
The DICT urges the public to report impostor accounts to Facebook through http://facebook.com/help/report in order to help track the creators of dummy accounts.
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