Facebook is rife with scams that use fake accounts to prey on people, talking them into a romantic relationship and coercing them to send money. However, many of these fraudulent accounts use the names and images of real people — leaving the identity theft victim frustrated, confused and powerless to stop their likeness from being abused.
One such person who had their identity co-opted is congressman Adam Kinzinger, a former military veteran. (These scams often steal the names and images of military members.) That’s why Kinzinger wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week, pressuring him to do something about this widespread fraud.
“There needs to be accountability for this issue that can, quite frankly, destroy lives,” Kinzinger wrote in his letter. “Facebook has an immensely significant role to play in getting this situation under control.”
Kinzinger also said he’s in the early stages of drafting legislation to force Facebook to confront the issue. Other lawmakers agreed, saying that the prevalence of romance scams illustrates how much work Facebook still has to do to clean up its platform.
“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,” Sen. Mark Warner said.
There’s no doubt that Facebook has a fake account problem; the company itself estimates that it has as many as 120 million. Now the pressure is on Facebook to do more to stop it.
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