The University of the Philippines issued an official statement over received reports that fake Facebook accounts have been created for their students, officials and alumni.
"We urge the members of the UP community to check their names and accounts and to make the proper report to the Data Protection Officer of Facebook," they wrote in a statement.
They assured that the "UP System Data Protection Officer has reached out to the Philippine National Privacy Commission to help students and alumni report fake or dummy accounts in their name to the DPO of Facebook."
According to UP Office of the Student Regent, the multiple reports on empty, duplicate and fake accounts bearing the name of UP students came after protests have been made against anti-terrorism bill in their campuses.
"We are encouraging students NOT to panic and instead help each other in reporting SUSPICIOUS accounts ONLY. We just need to stand together against possible tactics seeking to silence our voice. Stay safe everyone! #DefendUP #StopTheAttacks," UP Office of the Student Regent wrote.
"First reported by Tug-ani where reports show accounts copying the names of UP Cebu students after the arrest of our fellow students during their peaceful protest last 05 June 2020," they added.
The Office of the Student Regent also put a disclaimer to also exercise "restraint against reporting possible real-life accounts of people having the same name as ours"
Meanwhile on Twitter, the hashtag #HandsOffOurStudents has been on the trending list in the Philippines with tweets from netizens who were alarmed over surfacing fake and empty accounts on Facebook.
As of writing, there are more than 20,000 tweets using the hashtag.
How to report a fake account
According to Facebook, "Accounts and Pages that impersonate other people go against our Community Standards and aren't allowed" on the platform.
To report, search the name used on the fake profile or page, or ask your friends to find it and click the three dotted icon on the cover photo.
If you're reporting a profile, select Find Support or Report profile then follow the on-screen instructions for impersonation to file a report.
Meanwhile, if you don't have a Facebook account but someone is using your name for an account you can fill out this form.
If you're curious about who created a fake account after your name, Facebook said "you should first contact a lawyer or your local law enforcement agency and discuss this issue with them."
Should you decide to pursue legal action, the lawyer or the officer can review Facebook's operational guidelines by following the instructions listed.
"Once they contact us, we'll be able to communicate with them regarding this issue. Please be aware that there are situations where we may be unable to retrieve the information you have requested due to technical limitations," Facebook said. — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News