Facebook Scolds Federal Authorities Over Fake Account


The social network accused DEA of threatening "the integrity of our community" by pretending to be a New York woman on the site.

Facebook on Friday scolded federal authorities for creating a fake account on the social network to impersonate a New York woman for the purposes of a criminal investigation.

Facebook likened the Drug Enforcement Administration's "harmful conduct" to using the site for domestic violence, and asked the agency to confirm it was no longer engaged in the duplicitous activity.

"The DEA's actions threaten the integrity of our community," reads the letter, which was sent to agency Administrator Michele Leonhart. "Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our services. Indeed, as we have observed at Facebook, such deceptive actions are often used to further harmful conduct, such as trolling, hate speech, scams and bullying and even domestic violence."

Facebook accused DEA of knowingly violating the company's terms of service, which include the prohibition of impersonating another person or using the site to do anything that is "unlawful, misleading, malicious or discriminatory."

Last year Sondra Arquiett sued the government for creating a fake account in her name in 2010. A DEA agent is accused of proceeding to post suggestive photos of Arquiett that authorities had seized from her cell phone in order to lure suspected criminals into communicating with the account.

The Justice Department has argued that the special agent, Timothy Sinnigen, had the right to use seized photographs to pose as Arquiett online.

Facebook noted that authorities do not dispute Arquiett's charges, and said it was "deeply troubled by the DEA's claims and legal position."

(Image via antb/Shutterstock.com)