Facebook pushes back on feds' plan to use fake social media accounts

Facebook pushes back on feds' plan to use fake social media accounts
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Facebook said proposed plans by the Department of Homeland Security to create fake profiles to monitor foreign nationals’ social media activity would violate the platform’s rules, the Associated Press reported.

A Friday report indicated that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rolled back a ban on officers using fake social media identities, with DHS saying the accounts will aid them in reviewing green card, visa and citizenship applications.

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“Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear,” Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack told the AP. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

The proposal would also violate Twitter rules against impersonation, but the platform told the AP it is still reviewing the practice.

The State Department first began requiring visa applicants to submit their social media usernames in June, according to the AP.  

Under the proposal, officers would only be allowed to monitor publicly available social media information rather than “friending,” “following” or otherwise interacting with the targets, according to the AP.

Pollack told the AP that Facebook has made its concerns known to DHS about the use of fake accounts and its policies on impersonation, and has told DHS that Facebook will shut down fake accounts even if they belong to undercover law enforcement, according to the news service.

The Hill has reached out to DHS for comment.