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Facebook Condemns DEA Agent For Impersonating Woman

Social Media Network Takes Official Stand

It had recently come to light that a DEA agent was impersonating a woman on Facebook, using her name and pictures to talk to criminals. Not only did the DEA agent put that woman's life in danger by conversing with known criminals under her name and without her knowledge, he also posted racy pictures of her from her phone without her consent. As soon as Sondra Price found out that her identity and pictures were being used without her knowledge, she sued the DEA agent for violation of privacy and putting her in danger.


When Buzzfeed reported this story, the fake profile was available for all to see and had yet to be deleted by Facebook. The social media network had yet to react to the clear breach of their terms and policies, despite deleting Drag Queens' profiles because they were not using their real names. However, Facebook has finally taken a stand and has criticized the agency for setting up fake profiles.

Facebook responded by sending a letter to the agency, asking them to stop using fake profiles in their investigations and expressing their "deep concern about the DEA's conduct...and ask that the DEA cease all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonating of others." Facebook is standing behind Sondra Price's rights - unlike the Department of Justice, who has defended the DEA Agent's actions, saying that Sondra consented by "granting access to the information stored in cell phone and consenting to the use of information to aid in an ongoing investigation."

Facebook took down the fake profile and stated in its letter that what the DEA agent did undermines the trust within the Facebook community and unsettles the foundations of real identity on which Facebook is built. Facebook also reminded the agency that law enforcement authorities are subject to the same terms and community standard than anyone that chooses to join Facebook which includes: "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission." The DEA agent was therefore in violation of Facebook's policies.

While, looking for criminals and fighting crime is a good basis for using a fake account, the way the law enforcement agency went about it is clearly problematic. Using someone's identity without permission online should be punished, even if it has good intentions, as well as using someone's pictures without their consent. Facebook is right in taking a clear stand against this type of 'crime fighting'. This affair reiterates the need for laws and clear rules surrounding the use of internet and social media.


Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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Facebook Condemns DEA Agent For Impersonating Woman Reviewed by Laura Veit on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Rating: 5
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