Facebook investigates surge of fake accounts in PH
Marje Pelayo • June 8, 2020 • 239
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.
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.
The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) is seeking the approval of its P46.6 billion budget for 2021.
In a statement, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the budget will be for the effective implementation of the department’s strategic programs towards digital transformation in the new normal.
Several of DICT’s project include, the Digital Connectivity and Access programs, particularly the National Broadband Program (NBP), the Free WiFi for All in Public Places and State Universities and Colleges Program, and the Government Emergency Communications System.
“Digital connectivity and access is the foundation of digital transformation. It is only with secure and reliable Internet connectivity for every Filipino can we implement programs and initiatives towards digitalization in various sectors of our society,” Honasan said.
The proposed budget for FY 2021 is significantly much higher than its current budget for FY 2020 which amounts only to around 6 Billion Pesos.
“The call for digital transformation has never been more urgent. We need all the resources to fast track the country’s digital transformation for us to better adapt to the new normal brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Honasan. –AAC
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to launch 20 free wifi sites in Isabela and Lamitan in Basilan on Tuesday (June 30).
DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II cited the importance of connectivity and access especially while the country copes with the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It has become the lifeblood of our society, providing a sense of normalcy in our lives. And with that, it is your DICT’s duty to ensure the whole country are afforded this right, including the remotest part of the country. It is our duty to ensure the country safely transition to the new normal,” he said.
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