Facebook duplicates 'may be used to perpetuate misinformation' — PNP

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Facebook duplicates 'may be used to perpetuate misinformation' â PNP
Photo shows log-in prompt of social media website Facebook.
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — The national police joined calls condemning the sudden rise in reports of blank accounts cloning or duplicating existing accounts, a trend first reported by the official student publication of the University of the Philippines' Cebu campus but that has since spread to Metro Manila. 

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Anti-Cybercrime Group of the Philippine National Police urged victims to report cases to the group's main office, saying that this constitutes Computer-Related Identity Theft under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. 

"These accounts may be used to perpetuate misinformation or other nefarious activities on Facebook," the statement read, also urging the public to document and screenshot the Facebook ID numbers and URLs of any suspect duplicates. 

"Fearing that the spike in fake and duplicate Facebook accounts might be used unscrupulously by implicating unsuspecting individuals in various activities such as scams, spamming, and online activism, an investigation has been called by the Department of Justice not only on the foregoing incident, but as well as on similar or related cases," the statement added. 

READ: DOJ cybercrime office to investigate reports of clone Facebook accounts

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group also listed the elements of Computer-related Identity Theft, which include that: 

  1. There is/are identifying information belonging to a natural or juridical person;
  2. Another person acquires, uses, misuses, transfers, possesses, alters or deletes such identifying information;
  3. Such act is committed unintentionally;
  4. The act is committed without right 

Earlier Monday morning, the National Bureau of Investigation attributed the sudden influx of reports to a technical glitch on the part of Facebook, despite circulating screenshots of the cloned accounts messaging threats to their namesakes. 

Social unrest in the United States caused by the Black Lives Matter movement could somehow be behind the glitch, the NBI said. 

READ: Fact check: NBI claims Facebook clones a result of 'glitch' 

Also on Monday, Malacañang slammed those behind the proliferating accounts, with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque saying they should "find something better to do." 

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