Facebook representatives sent an open letter to the administration of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA, in short), asking the agency to stop using fake accounts in order to get in contact with drug rings.
The story begins in 2010, when a woman named Sondra Arquiett was arrested on drug charges, and, among other belongings, her cell phone was seized. A DEA agent then created a Facebook account using this person’s identity and uploaded photos from her device, including suggestive ones. According to the letter in cause, the account was then used to communicate with suspected criminals. Later, Sondra Arquiett sued the DEA, but the court ruled in the agency’s favor, stating that the Facebook page was used for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
However, despite the court’s decision, Facebook officials decided to take action and sent a letter to the administrator of DEA, asking the agency to stop using fake accounts. They state that this practice is against the social network’s core principle. This is to have users create accounts using their real names, in order to, as Facebook states, “protect millions of people around the world every day, all around the world, from harm”. In the letter, written by Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, is specified that the fake Sondra Arquiett account was disabled. It is also underlined that even law enforcement authorities are subject to Facebook’s community standards.
The letter accuses the DEA’s actions of violating Facebook’s terms and policies and of undermining people’s trust in the social network. So far, the Drug Enforcement Administration has not issued any response to this letter or to the company’s plea to stop impersonating people. It is also not known whether the DEA has other fake accounts around the social network and if they do, how many there are. It would be hard to prove that an account is not the real thing, unless the person whose identity is stolen reports it. If you want to read the whole letter, click here and have a look at it.