Facebook Warns LAPD to Stop Using Fake Accounts to Spy on Suspects

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies via video conference during an Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on "Online platforms and market power. Examining the dominance of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple" on Capitol Hill on July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Graeme …
Graeme Jennings - Pool/Getty Images

Facebook has reportedly contacted the Los Angeles Police Department demanding that they stop setting up fake profiles to spy on suspects.

BBC News reports that Facebook (now known as Meta) has formally contacted the LAPD to request that the police department stop using fake profiles on Facebook’s platform to surveil its users. It was recently revealed that the U.S. police department had been working with a tech firm that analyzes Facebook user profiles in an effort to solve crimes.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers wear facial covering while monitoring an "Open California" rally in downtown Los Angeles, on April 22, 2020. - Over the past week there have been scattered protests in several US states against confinement measures, from New Hampshire, Maryland and Pennsylvania to Texas and California. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers wear facial covering while monitoring an “Open California” rally in downtown Los Angeles, on April 22, 2020.  (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for the 8th annual Breakthrough Prize awards ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California on November 3, 2019. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Facebook has taken a harsh stance against fake accounts on the platform, stating that it intends to “create a safe environment where people can trust and hold one another accountable.”

Facebook’s vice president and deputy general counsel for civil rights Roy Austin stated in a letter:

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’.

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.

According to documents obtained by the Brennan Center of Justice via public record requests, in 2019 the LAPD used Voyager Labs’ social media surveillance software to monitor suspects and collect data from their accounts and those of their friends.

The LAPD said that the software was useful in investigating the activities of street gangs that often communicate online and was crucial in helping its robbery and homicide division collect evidence.

Read more at BBC News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.