Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday urged netizens to be vigilant by reporting dummy accounts on Facebook (FB) and other social media platforms.
Andanar described the sudden surge of fake FB accounts as “alarming” and “disturbing” especially since the said accounts were using the names of thousands of people.
“We ask the public to do their part and be conscientious and vigilant. Please report fake accounts and do not fall prey to unsubstantiated posts from unverified accounts,” Andanar said in a statement.
He likened the proliferation of bogus FB accounts to the spread of fake news and disinformation used to manipulate public information.
“Much like spreading fake news and propagating disinformation, creating fake accounts creates confusion and misunderstanding among the public and violates the security and privacy of those whose names were used,” he said.
The PCOO chief, meanwhile, assured that his agency continues its programs, such as Dismiss Disinformation and Youth for Truth, meant to combat fake news and misleading information.
“We urge everyone to be responsible social media users and warn those who commit malicious acts of fake accounts and fake news creation, that you can be made accountable for your actions, as such actions are prohibited and punishable under the Cybercrime Prevention Act,” he said.
Under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175 online identity theft that causes damages to a party is punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 years.
Currently, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)-Office of Cybercrime, in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are investigating the surge of fake FB accounts.
Facebook Philippines is also looking into the matter.
Over the weekend, House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate accused the government of allegedly behind the proliferation saying that some, if not all, of those with duplicate FB accounts, opposed the anti-terrorism bill.
Malacañang has challenged the lawmaker to file corresponding charges before the court to prove his allegations. (PNA)
Photo Source: pna.gov.ph