Following a recent revelation by the Guardian, Facebook has written to the Los Angeles Police Department urging them to stop monitoring users on the platform through fake profiles.
According to Facebook, the creation of a fake profile is prohibited because it works tirelessly to “create a safe environment where people can trust and hold one another accountable.” Further revelations in the documents obtained showed that the LAPD has been using Voyager Labs’ social media surveillance software since 2019 to collect data from suspects’ social media networks (including their friends’ accounts) since 2019.
In the letter to the police, Roy Austin, Facebook’s vice president and deputy general counsel for civil rights, stated: “Not only do LAPD instructional documents use Facebook as an explicit example is 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.”