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DOJ gets over 100 reports on dummy Facebook accounts

The Department of Justice's (DOJ) cybercrime office received over a hundred reports from Facebook users with dummy accounts just hours after it launched an investigation on an "apparent proliferation" of fake accounts in the popular social media site, an official said Monday.

Undersecretary Markk Perete said the office had received 112 reports, some containing two or more dummy accounts, by late Sunday night and that they have asked Facebook to take down an initial batch but preserve the data for possible use as evidence.

He said the DOJ will pursue "all possible angles and leads" and is looking into computer-related identity theft under the anti-cybercrime law as a possible violation.

"No one is in the clear," Perete said in a message to reporters when asked if the DOJ will include in its investigation known terrorist organizations. The department will also look into a reported theory from the National Bureau of Investigation that it may have been a "glitch," he said.

Perete said the DOJ is coordinating with Facebook Asia Pacific "to expedite the process."

Asked for an assurance that the DOJ will not use the information submitted to them by Facebook users for other purposes, the official said the department will maintain citizens' privacy.

"The law on data privacy prohibits disclosure of information without consent or beyond the purpose for which data was obtained/provided.  Liability, including criminal penalties, is imposed upon those who violate this prohibition," he said.

"The DOJ Office of Cybercrime is not only aware of this prohibition; it will assiduously uphold the law that protects the privacy of citizens," he added.

Malacañang, meanwhile, warned people behind the proliferation of fake Facebook accounts.

“Iligal po ‘yan. Humanap po kayo ng mas mabuting gagawin,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered an investigation Sunday afternoon amid reports that university students have spotted empty Facebook accounts bearing their names following protests against the anti-terrorism bill.

The University of the Philippines and the official publication of the De La Salle University have reported such accounts.

The Philippine National Police, the National Privacy Commission, and Facebook are also investigating. --KBK/AOL, GMA News