CEBU CITY, Philippines – Filipinos in cities across the country reported duplicate accounts made in their name on Facebook on Saturday, June 6.
Hundreds of students from Cebu schools including University of the Philippines Cebu, University of San Carlos, and San Jose Recoletos sounded the alert over several dummy accounts made in their name.
While initially thought to be limited to Cebu and the Central Visayas areas, and activists and the politically vocal, it turns out that the duplicate Facebook accounts have been reported nationwide. Even non-activists and apolitical active accounts have also reported duplicate accounts.
This is what we know so far:
- While students and activists were the first ones to alert, more non-students and non-activists also found duplicate accounts in their names.
- Majority of the accounts don’t have a profile picture and have no friends.
- The dummy accounts have the same format: first (dot) last name and a number.
- A non-government organization in Cebu documented at least 400 dummy accounts so far. But the number of accounts could number in the thousands.
- Duplicate accounts were reported in areas from residents of Metro Manila, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Cagayan de Oro City, among other areas.
- Facebook, so far, has taken down the accounts reported to them. Although some have reported new duplicate accounts resurfacing after.
A resident of Dumaguete City reported up to 12 accounts in her name.
The University of the Philippines Office of the Student Regent issued a statement on the fake accounts of U.P. students early morning, Sunday, June 7.
“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 on Facebook.
The student regent also cautioned social media users to “exercise restraint against reporting possible real-life accounts of people having the same name as ours.”
Activists arrested in U.P. Cebu on Friday, June 5, reportedly had 30 to 40 accounts each made in their names.
The arrested Cebu 8 were also found to have had 30 to 40 duplicates each. (READ: Cops arrest 8 at anti-terrorism bill protest in Cebu City)
On the same evening, San Beda University reported a data breach where a hacker was able to access to personal information and social media passwords of thousands of students and apparently released them online.
If you have duplicate accounts in your name, here’s how to report: