The use of fake Facebook accounts by undercover cops to spy on citizens has prompted an urgent Facebook warning.
FACEBOOK has demanded that police in Los Angeles stop using “dummy” accounts to spy on people.
In an open letter to Michel Moore, the LAPD chief, Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook, addressed the issue.
“According to the Brennan Center for Justice and media reports, the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) has instructed its officers to create fake (or “dummy”) Facebook accounts and impersonate legitimate users,” the letter begins.
“Not only do LAPD instructional documents use Facebook as an explicit example of how to set up fake social media accounts, but documents also show that LAPD policies simply allow officers to create fake accounts for “online investigative activity.”
This is against Facebook’s terms of service.
Meta’s demands come after The Guardian revealed that the US police department had been working with a tech firm to analyze social media data to aid in crime solving.
In 2019, the police department reportedly partnered with Voyager Labs to keep an eye on “emerging threats.”
This could have included looking at user profiles, friends, posts, and usernames on Facebook.
“We believe strongly in the principle of free expression and strive to create an environment where people can act on their freedoms,” Meta continues in his letter.
“People on our platforms are free to express themselves, connect with others to promote common causes, share personal stories, and organize First Amendment-protected activities.”
“It is our intention that they do so in an environment free of government surveillance or untrustworthy agents.”
It outlines the types of behavior that are against Facebook’s rules, such as creating a fake account with a fake name and using images to deceive others.
It is also forbidden to use third parties to gather data from Facebook for surveillance purposes, according to the letter.
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