Sunday, 14 October 2018

ADVOCATE AGAINST ROMANCE SCAMS, Facebook Meeting October 12, 2018


Facebook Meeting October 12, 2018
Including Bryan and I, there were 10 meeting participants. Facebook Team members were from Head Quarters in Menlo Park California, Austin Texas, Washington D.C. and London England offices. The meeting was conducted via video conference. The Facebook participants consisted of those with the Cyber-Security Legal Team, Engineering, Community Operations, Misrepresentation Process Team, Government Outreach, and Federal Policy Team.
Because so many issues have come up in regard to client safety and security amongst Facebook’s platforms, this was a large focus of our engagement. Facebook was able to inform us that, yes, there are new projects in place that did not exist in the recent past and the majority of changes will be noticeable by the end of 2018 and into 2019. Unfortunately, multiple program elements cannot be shared due to the fact that scammers/criminals across the platforms can utilize the details to their advantage and further scam potential victims. The product and engineer departments are working tirelessly to help bring more appropriate security to their platform that hosts 2.5billion customers.
Something we were not aware of in regard to the reporting process... the option “Fake Account” under the reporting options was primarily based on accounts built by “Bots” or “Scripts”, not for manually built accounts. We were informed to report accounts under impersonation, however this is not an option but the closest choice would be “pretending to be someone”. The options given under this section is: Me, a Friend, or Celebrity.
The downfall of this option is, many of the reporters are not friends with the actual person in the picture, a picture of themselves, or are they the person in the picture.
Is this why many of us are unlucky with our report, yes, very possible. Is something being done to improve this process, we were told yes. When will a change occur, this is still unknown.
We asked the reason behind the disappearance of results post fake account reporting. Bringing up the fact that not providing this information any longer, couldlook like Facebook may not want their customers to know they are keeping the fake accounts up or in other words considered “Within Community Standards”. We were told by a policy team member that this form of information will be coming back. At this time, there is not a date as to when this will occur. Facebook was informed that this type of notification is used to help reporters keep track of the fake accounts that are removed or remain. Facebook would like everyone to know that all reported accounts are addressed even if the notification follow up is not in place at this time.
We were also informed that when accounts are taken down or left up after reporting, documentation is part of that process. This helps Facebook and the initial reporter to better understand the reasoning of the account removals or for those that remain.
We also questioned how many fake accounts one can report in either a day, or per hour. This number was not known, but a team member will look into this. It was mentioned that if a definite number is given to the public, then this can also result in a benefit to those who use the reporting system improperly (for example one political party trying to report and remove a different political party’s account to keep one silent) Unfortunately, others’ ill intentions effect the “good standing” fake account reporters work.
We then brought up that Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned at the April Congressional Hearings that he depended on his customers to flag fake accounts, and with many being blocked for descents amounts of time due to the mass reporting, who then is responsible for the safety of the site when the “good standing” reporters are blocked? Again, the team member will look into the amount and time limit of reporting.
Building multiple accounts was also a subject reviewed; questioning why creating additional accounts are still an option when they are against FB policy. Kathy explained that she built an account with Bryan’s photos and one of General Milley’s photos. One had friend suggestions from Nigeria, while the other did not. The Community Operations team did ask their Tech department on this issue and was told that having a history of reporting or searching people in distinct areas can result in a friend suggestion. When questioning why one account had the suggestions of friends in Nigeria and the other did not, we were told by the team member that they would need to readdress the tech team and get back to us.
Concerns mentioned of additional fraudulent accounts because of the upcoming dating site. We were informed that the Misrepresentation Process Team is monitoring the new process closely with continued support.
We also inquired on the meeting between Facebook and Rep. Kinzingers’ office back in September, and if Facebook would be willing to support an amendment to the 230 CDA on Identity Theft. The Federal Policy Team member informed us that he would ask the Facebook representative that met with Rep. Kinzinger for a list of key points that came from that meeting and will get back to us.
Pro-activity on fake accounts is a goal of Facebook’s. They hope that in the very near future they will be able to recognize the fake manually built accounts before they hit the platform.
There are a few subjects that the Facebook team will be following up on and getting back to us. The team was very attentive, empathetic, and determined to see a change just like the rest of us are. Again, nothing happens overnight, but they are aware that there are continual issues that need to be addressed sooner than later.
Facebook wants us to continue providing the Quarterly reports that help them to better understand issues that may be at hand, stating they “value our feedback”. We appreciated this and once again informed the team that we are here to assist in any way. Per the Government Outreach member, meetings will continue with Facebook approximately every 6 months.
We will continue to work with Facebook as a team, and hope they join us in helping to amend the 230 CDA under Identity Theft. This would be an amazing partnership amongst Platforms, Congress, and the People (you and I).

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