In the meantime, you might want to do a quick Facebook search of your name and see if your account has been cloned too or ask a close friend to do it for you if the clone account already blocked you.
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Empty, duplicate accounts surface on Facebook
Empty, duplicate, and fake accounts of University of the Philippines (UP) students and alumni have surfaced on Facebook, according to Tug-ani, UP Cebu’s official student publication.
They reported that they noticed duplicate accounts of activists arrested at an anti-terrorism bill protest on Friday (June 5).
“Dozens of empty duplicate accounts bearing active usernames of UP Cebu students surface tonight. Victims speculate that this might involve identity theft or targeted attacks against UP students,” Tug-ani wrote on Facebook.
However, the problem is not limited to UP students only. Other Facebook users from the Philippines have also reported similar cases.
“Turns out, the issue is not only limited to UP Cebu. Other persons from Cebu and around the country also found recently made duplicate accounts of their profiles,” it added.
The UP Office of the Student Regent cautioned Facebook users to not panic and report suspicious accounts instead.
“We express our utmost alarm since these accounts are suspected to cause harm or spread false information. It would be best if we all stay informed and vigilant,” it said.
“We are hoping that this is a glitch in the system only and can be resolved as soon as possible. However, let it be clear that we will not tolerate any misleading content posted on any account that will endanger out students.”
Report fake accounts
Accounts pretending to be someone you know or someone who doesn’t exist can be reported, according to Facebook.
Go to the profile of the fake account
Click on the three dots under the cover photo and select “Find Support or Report Profile.”
Follow the on-screen instructions for fake accounts to file a report.
Fake Facebook accounts are on the rise—and DOJ is already ordering an investigation
In the meantime, you might want to do a quick Facebook search of your name and see if you’ve been impersonated too
Jun 7, 2020
Are there fake versions of you on Facebook? The social media network’s Filipino users have discovered dummy accounts made under their names this weekend. Aside from making them “befriend” the report button, this spike of fake accounts prompted netizens to post advisories on their Facebook walls certifying their only accounts and urging their friends to help them report their impersonators as well.
According to Inquirer, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra is ordering their cybercrime office to immediately coordinate with the respective cybercrime units of the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police as well.
Earlier in the day, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) also released a statement regarding the proliferation of alleged impostor Facebook accounts reported to them mostly by academic institutions. Aside from monitoring the situation, the commission also announced that they have forwarded the complaints to Facebook.
As a response, the social media network’s representative in the Philippines Clare Amador said that they are already investigating the matter and gathering other information about the spike of unauthorized accounts. In the meantime, NPC urges everyone to report the fake accounts directly to Facebook.
Among the first universities to raise concerns about the matter is the University of the Philippines (UP). According to its public advisory, both its students and alumni have reported fake or dummy Facebook accounts made under their names. Lending a hand, UP also said that their System Data Protection Officer has already reached out to NPC regarding the matter.
A statement from the UP Office of the Student Regent also noted that the multiple reports of empty, duplicate and fake accounts which bore the names of the university’s students came after the protests in UP campuses and threats to their students.
The statement noted that the incidents was “first reported by Tug-ani where reports show accounts copying the names of UP Cebu students after the arrest of our fellow students during their peaceful protest last 05 June 2020.”
Ateneo de Manila University also issued an advisory from their Data Protection Office about the reports of hacking and cloning on Facebook which has been victimizing their students and personnel.
The De La Salle University (DLSU) also issued an official statement asking students, alumni and faculty to remain vigilant against those posing as members of the DLSU community. They also warned everyone to refrain from responding or clicking links in suspicious email or friend requests as a precautionary measure.
The University of the East also called their community’s attention to the matter after receiving various reports as well. Aside from sharing a step-by-step process of reporting accounts directly to Facebook, the university also said that they have raised the matter to NPC in order to help those who had been affected by the spike of dummy accounts already.
The Philippine National University also encouraged all of their faculty members, administrative staff, students and alumni to check their names and report suspicious accounts to Facebook.
DOJ cybercrime office to investigate reports of clone Facebook accounts
Amid a flurry of reports of dummy accounts on Facebook, the justice department's Office of Cybercrime has been directed to coordinate with the cybercrime units of both the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to investigate.
UP Tug-ani, UP Cebu's official student publication, first reported duplicate accounts of the activists arrested at the peaceful protest held at the university's campus, though reports of similar have soon included non-student activists in Manila.
In a text message to reporters Sunday afternoon, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said: "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. I will immediately direct the DOJ Office of Cybercrime to coordinate with the NBI and PNP cybercrime units to promptly investigate the apparent proliferation of fake or dummy accounts on Facebook," Guevarra said.
At least two reporters of Philstar.com have found duplicate accounts of themselves as well.
Facebook, the National Privacy Commission and the Philippine National Police have not responded to request for comment as of this writing.
NPC is looking into sudden surge of cloned Facebook accounts
Early on Sunday, Facebook timeline has been flooded with pleas to help users report cloned accounts. The incident spread like wildfire and friends helped each other in trying to block or report account pages.
Because there was no official word from Facebook or any governing entity, users speculated based on a hunch or previous incidents linked to the political stability in the Philippines. The sudden surge of cloned accounts sowed fear and anger among the community.
In light of this, the data privacy watchdog National Privacy Commission (NPC) released a statement saying “it is monitoring reports about the proliferation of alleged impostor FB accounts that have victimized Filipino data subjects.”
The commission also said it is yet to fully determine the extent of harm of the incidents as it received “reports from different sectors, mostly coming from academic institutions.”
NPC said it immediately brought this to the attention of Facebook and it quotes Clare Amador, Facebook representative in the Philippines, saying that the social media platform is already investigating this particular matter as well as other information on unauthorized FB accounts.
Meanwhile, Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro has instructed Facebook to report its significant findings as soon as it becomes available.
“In addition, we urge everyone to report alleged impostor accounts to Facebook through https://www.facebook.com/help/report,” Liboro said in the statement.
Public urged to report suspect 'fake' accounts to Facebook
The public has been asked to continue reporting suspected duplicate accounts to Facebook, the National Privacy Commission said, after the latter brought circulating reports of the alleged clone accounts of students and activists to the attention of Facebook, which is reportedly investigating the issue.
The reports began after activists and students of the University of the Philippines' Cebu campus were detained—a pattern acknowledged by the commission as well—but they have since come to include non-student activists in Manila.
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, National Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said that the commission was "monitoring reports about the proliferation of alleged impostor FB accounts that have victimized Filipino data subjects," urging users to report suspected clones.
Nothing else about the commission's next move was mentioned.
"While the extent of these incidents are (sic.) not yet fully determined at this time, we have been receiving reports from different sectors, mostly coming from academic institutions. We immediately brought this to the attention of Facebook," Liboro said in the statement acquired by Philstar.com.
"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 reports (sic.) its significant findings as soon as it becomes available," he added.
Asked about the commission's course of action for the time being along with its advice for affected social media users, Liboro has not responded as of this publishing.
At least three reporters of Philstar.com have found duplicate accounts of themselves on Facebook as well.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, the justice department said its cybercrime office was also working with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police in looking into the accounts as well.
Users on social media have linked the accounts to pro-administration troll farms after reporting that some of the purported duplicate accounts went as far as sending death threats to their namesakes, while militant groups have slammed the dummy accounts as a possible targeted retaliation at dissenters critical of the anti-terrorism bill.
The Philippine National Police and representatives of Facebook have yet to respond to requests for comment as of this publishing.
"In the meantime, we urge everyone to report alleged impostor accounts to Facebook through https://www.facebook.com/help/report," the statement read.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) – Office of Cybercrime (OOC) have received reports regarding the creation of dummy Facebook accounts of persons who have purportedly aired their grievances against the legislation of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which aims to amend Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.
We encourage everyone affected and those who have knowledge of relevant circumstance relating to the aforesaid modus to please report the incident to the DOJ-OOC following the format below:
Name: (e.g., Juan Dela Cruz) Facebook profile username: (e.g., Juan Dela Cruz) Facebook profile account link: (e.g., www.facebook.com/juan.delacruz) Dummy account username: (e.g., Juan Delacruz) Dummy account link: (e.g., www.facebook.com/juan.dela.cruz.111) Please be reminded that the intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right, and with or without damage, is a crime denominated as Computer-related Identity-Theft, which is defined and penalized under Section 4 (b)(3) of R.A. No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Any person found guilty of the said offense shall be IMPRISONED for 6 years and 1 day to 12 years or shall be FINED at least Php200,000.00 up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred, or BOTH. In addition, we also urge everyone to report the dummy accounts to Facebook following the steps indicated in the photos attached. For your information and guidance.
What to do if you or a friend has been 'cloned' on Facebook
According to Facebook's existing rules, accounts falsely pretending to be someone they are not may be reported.
On the accounts of suspected fakes, tap the icon with three dots next to the "Message" and "Add Friend" options under the Cover Photo
Select the "Find Support or Report Profile" option which opens a pop-up menu with on-screen instructions
From there, you may tag the profile as one "Pretending to be Someone" or one being a "Fake Account"
Click "Next" and select "Done" in the following window.
The UP Office of the Student regent also took care to warn students to be judicious in their reporting, as legitimate accounts of people with the same name could also accidentally be taken down in the process.