DOJ creates inter-agency task force to investigate cloned Facebook accounts 
At least three reporters of Philstar.com have found duplicate accounts of themselves on Facebook as well. 
Philstar.com/Irish Lising

DOJ creates inter-agency task force to investigate cloned Facebook accounts 

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - June 15, 2020 - 6:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The justice department on Sunday said it is forming an inter-agency task force to investigate reports of netizens’ duplicate accounts cropping up on Facebook. 

Department of Justice Undersecretary Markk Perrete told ABS-CBN that the task force would integrate investigations being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, the National Privacy Commission and the Department of Information and Communications Technology. 

He added that the justice deparment has “received reports pertaining to 198 individuals, covering 300 accounts.”

DOJ asked Facebook to take down the duplicate accounts and to preserve their content for the task force’s investigation, according to Perete. 

The undersecretary added that the task force is also set to meet with Facebook this week.

Clone accounts: Glitch or disinformation campaign?

The National Bureau of Investigation last week said that the dummy accounts were likely due to a technical glitch on Facebook's part. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who co-authored and sponsored the anti-terrorism bill, has speculated that recent reports of netizens’ Facebook accounts being cloned may be part of a disinformation campaign against the controversial measure.

However, a pattern suggests that it is actually critics of the government who are vocal online that are being targeted by these duplicate accounts. 

The occurence was first reported after UP Tug-ani, UP Cebu's official student publication, flagged clone accounts of the activists who were arrested at an anti-terror bill rally on campus. 

Similar reports pertaining to non-student activists in Manila quickly followed. 

At least three reporters of Philstar.com have found duplicate accounts of themselves as well. 

The Commission on Human Rights over the weekend expressed concern over the threat these accounts may pose to the privacy of users.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia also noted reports of individuals receiving death threats and intimidating messages from blank profiles bearing names of legitimate users.

“Such practices pose a threat to the people’s freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to express grievance and demand for redress, especially from the government, without fear of getting persecuted,” she said.

The DOJ is also conducting its own review of the anti-terrorism bill. Perete said the department’s legal counsel met on Sunday in order to make the deadline for the review on June 17. 

The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 reached President Rodrigo Duterte’s desk on June 9. He can choose to sign the bill, veto it, or let it lapse into a law after 30 days. 

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with