Urgent Facebook warning after undercover cops are caught using fake accounts to spy on citizens
FACEBOOK has demanded that police in LA stop using “dummy” accounts for surveillance of citizens.
Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook, addressed the issue in an open letter to the LAPD chief, Michel Moore.
The letter starts: "According to the Brennan Center for Justice and media reports the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) has been instructing its officers to create fake (or “dummy”) Facebook accounts and impersonate legitimate users.
"Not only do LAPD instructional documents use Facebook as an explicit example in advising officers to set up fake social media accounts, but documents also indicate that LAPD policies simply allow officers to create fake accounts for “online investigative activity.”
This behaviour violates Facebook's terms of service.
Meta's demands come after an investigation by The Guardian revealed that the US police department had been working with a tech firm to analyse social media data to help solve crimes.
The police department was said to partner with Voyager Labs in 2019 to watch out for “emerging threats”.
This may have involved looking at Facebook user profiles, their friends, posts and usernames.
Meta's letter continues: "We believe strongly in the principle of free expression and strive to create an environment where people can act on their freedoms.
"People on our platforms speak their minds, connect with others to promote common causes, share their personal experiences, and organize First Amendment protected activities.
"It is our intention that they do so in a space that is free from unlawful surveillance by the government or agents acting in inauthentic ways."
It lists the kind of behaviour that breaks the Facebook rules such as creating a fake account under a fake name and using images with the intent of deceiving people.
The letter also states that using third parties to gather data from Facebook for surveillance is not allowed.
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