Facebook hits DEA for fake account


Facebook on Friday criticized the Drug Enforcement Administration for creating a fake account using a woman’s name and photos without her permission.

The DEA’s actions are a “knowing and serious breach” of the social media giant’s policies, chief security officer Joe Sullivan wrote in a letter to agency Administrator Michele Leonhart.

“Facebook is a community where people come to share and interact using their authentic identities,” he wrote. “The DEA’s deceptive actions violate the terms and policies that govern the use of the Facebook service and undermine trust in the Facebook community ”

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed reported that a DEA agent had used images of a woman named Sondra Arquiett to create a fake account in her name without her knowledge. 

The pictures — including some of her in underwear and in intimate poses, as well as photos of her young son and niece — were taken off her cellphone when she was arrested on drug charges in 2010.

The DEA agent behind the fake account, Timothy Sinnigen, used the “undercover” profile to pose as her and send and receive friend requests from others. The agency said that the effort was part of an investigation.

Arquiett discovered the account and sued the DEA for violating her privacy and putting her in danger, BuzzFeed reported.

In response, the agency defended Sinnigen’s actions by claiming that Arquiett had “implicitly” consented by giving the agency access to information on her phone and saying they could use it for an investigation.

Facebook said it was “deeply troubled” by that legal argument.

Additionally, the company claimed that the fake account is a violation of its community standards, which the DEA agent would have had to agree with before creating the account.

Facebook demanded that the DEA “immediately” confirm that it has stopped any and all impersonations of other people on its site.