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Facebook Opposes Fake Accounts Created by DHS

Facebook said on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should not proceed with a plan to create fake Facebook profiles to monitor the social media accounts of foreigners seeking to enter the country.

The move goes against Facebook's rules, the company said, noting that it prohibits false accounts and will remove any it finds that violate that policy, CBS News reports.

“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 Associated Press in a statement. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

The company made the announcement following an Associated Press report last week that DHS had authorized its agents to use fake social media accounts, reversing a previous ban on the practice.

In one of a series of changes to immigration policy last week, DHS said employees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of DHS, could create fictitious accounts on social media to investigate the social media presence of an applicant for citizenship or a visa. This year, the Trump administration also started requiring applicants to list social media accounts as part of the visa screening process, a move that critics saw as an unnecessarily invasive measure.

DHS said phony accounts would make it easier for agents reviewing visa and citizenship applications to search for fraud or security threats. The department already collects social media information from immigrants, as well as from some foreign visitors.

To read a Security Management interview with Nick Lovrien, CPP, chief global security officer at Facebook, go to the article “A World of Risk.”