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 KinzingerIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map Anti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision MORE (R-Ill.) on Wednesday wrote to Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergEx-Facebook data scientist to testify before British lawmakers A defense for Facebook and global free speech Senate Democrat calls on Facebook to preserve documents related to whistleblower testimony 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 WarnerFill the Eastern District of Virginia  GOP tries to take filibuster pressure off Manchin, Sinema Manchin signals he won't support filibuster carveout for debt hike 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.