Nov 19, 2021
Facebook tells LA police to stop spying on users with fake accounts
"Not only do LAPD instructional documents use Facebook as an explicit example in advising officers to set up fake social media accounts, but documents also indicate that LAPD policies simply allow officers to create fake accounts for 'online investigative activity'," wrote Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel for civil rights Roy Austin in a letter outlining Facebook's policies. "While the legitimacy of such policies may be up to the LAPD, officers must abide by Facebook's policies when creating accounts on our services. The Police Department should cease all activities on Facebook that involve the use of fake accounts, impersonation of others, and collection of data for surveillance purposes." Documents obtained through public record requests made by non-profit organisation the Brennan Center of Justice showed that in 2019, the LAPD had been using Voyager Labs' social media surveillance software to collect data from suspects' social media networks, including their friends' accounts. Facebook said the researchers' data-scraping browser extension tool undermined its security, while the academics argued that their work was vital in maintaining democracy and keeping the social network's practices transparent. "You're not special if you run a social media platform. If there's not a rule saying you can't have an undercover cop in a church, why should a social media platform be any different?".
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