House Republican asks Mark Zuckerberg for answers on Facebook 'romance scams'

House Republican asks Mark Zuckerberg for answers on Facebook 'romance scams'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerBolton returns to political group after exiting administration Overnight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency The Hill's 12:30 Report: Bolton out as national security adviser MORE (R-Ill.) on Wednesday wrote to Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergLeaders of House antitrust investigation to meet with Zuckerberg Trump, Zuckerberg hold 'constructive' meeting at White House On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE seeking answers on the proliferation of “romance scams” through the social media platform.

“Despite Facebook’s stated attempts to ensure the safety and security of its users, allegations persist that the company does not always swiftly act against known fake accounts or impersonators. I have reviewed cases in which no action seems to have been taken at all,” Kinzinger writes.

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“What is worse, there seems to be a lack of action to address user groups which persistently engage in illegal activity, including those groups which are used to educate other nefarious actors in the art of scamming users,” he adds.

Kinzinger, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, told The New York Times he has himself been the target of one common form of the con, with several women getting in touch with him believing themselves to have developed a relationship with him through Facebook due to someone else impersonating him.

“There needs to be accountability for this issue that can, quite frankly, destroy lives,” Kinzinger wrote in the letter. “Facebook has an immensely significant role to play in getting this situation under control.”

Kinzinger told the Times he is not yet prepared to propose specific legislation to address the issue, adding that he needed more time to analyze the issue, but said in the meantime Facebook should consider fixes such as facial-recognition software or requiring more detailed identification before creating an account.

A spokesperson for the company told the Times the company is reviewing Kinzinger’s letter.

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' MORE (D-Va.), the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, cited a Times article about military romance scams as an indicator the company has been slow to respond to impersonations.

“We continue to see that despite a lot of public pledges to address core problems with its platform, Facebook still remains incredibly vulnerable to exploitation by bad actors,” Warner said in a statement, according to the Times.