UP professor out to fight Facebook on fake account
A university professor publicly aired her grievance on identity theft after Facebook has dismissed her complaints and request on shutting down a fake account.
Marikit Tara Alto Uychoco shared on Sunday, May 6 that she has been appealing for Facebook to take down an account named “UyChoco Alto Marikit Tara” which she claims was created after she went on a Facebook hiatus.
Uychoco is an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman and has authored books on communication and literature.
The full name the fake account uses is the same as that found in her legal documents, Uychoco said.
Initially, her complaints worked. She narrated, “I reported it to Facebook immediately after it came to my attention, and for a while, the profile was gone, helped by my friends who had reported it, and by those who had personally messaged the fake person.”
“Today, however, Facebook has emailed me to say that that, ‘We reviewed the profile your friend reported and found that it isn’t pretending to be you and doesn’t go against our community standards.’ As I write, the fake person has their profile up on Facebook again,” she noted.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to Facebook Asia vice president Dan Neary and Philippines country director John Rubio for comment. No reply has been given as of this writing.
Uychoco said she intends to visit the Facebook Philippines office in Metro Manila to ask for assistance on the issue.
“I will bring my identification papers and my irate self – because I am sick and tired of the abuses that Facebook has done to me, and to the Philippines, as well,” she wrote. “There is such a thing as corporate accountability, and if they don’t take this person’s Facebook profile down, I will sue them for criminal negligence and being an accessory to fraud.”
She stressed, “It is about time that someone stands up to these people who create fake accounts, manage troll farms, and manufacture fake news and fake people for political ends.”
In another Facebook post, Uychoco detailed the steps she and her friends have already taken to rectify the problem; all these steps apparently failed.
The impostor’s account has also allegedly admitted to being fake and that the person behind it wants to change the name but has to wait 20 days. S/he has also refused to delete the account for the reason that it had “something important.”
Uychoco believes she was targeted for identity theft because of her political beliefs. “One, my textbooks have an Anti-Marcos slant. Two, I have engaged in a post against this government’s ‘dubious drug war without legal processes’. That’s the price of being a thinking person who tries to do her civic duty in educating people.”
She noted that raising someone’s ire could lead them to dig up information on you outside of Facebook. Uychoco revealed, “The first time they did this to me, I didn’t use my complete name on FB and my first imposter found out my complete name and used it.”
The same has been done to her sister after she interacted with one such “troll”: “Pretty scary too, because the fake account is using her childhood nickname.”
“I’m nobody. I’m not a media personality, I’m not a celebrity, I’m not an influencer. I’m just a real person caught in a platform made up of real and fake people,” Uychoco said.
Facebook has come under attack locally and internationally for issues on data privacy and fake news. Last April, the social media company partnered with two local media outlets to fact-check fake news shared on the platform. JB