Philippines: ‘Bounty hunters’ use Facebook’s fake-news tool to target tech companies
Philippines: Philippines police say they have arrested a man for allegedly running a bounty hunt on Facebook, accusing him of stealing money and threatening his victims.
The arrest comes after a woman in the capital Manila filed a complaint alleging she was blackmailed by one of the suspects, according to the Philippines Department of Public Security.
The complaint, filed on Friday, accuses the suspect of violating Philippine law by running a fake-gift program, using Facebook’s Marketplace platform, and running fake Facebook accounts to make payments to a woman named “Rumi.”
The suspect allegedly used a Facebook Marketplace program to create fake Facebook profiles and then sell them for P200,000 each, according the complaint.
The suspect, identified by police as 28-year-old “Bryan” (also known as “Takumi”), has allegedly also used Facebook’s Messenger service to make fraudulent payments of P1 million to Rumi, according police.
Police say they arrested Bryan on Monday.
“The victim was threatened that if she didn’t pay the money, she would be left with no money,” Police Superintendent Jose Lito said at a news conference.
Police said Rumi paid Bryan between P5 million and P10 million to set up fake Facebook groups and fake Facebook posts on her own account, and to create “bounty” posts on Facebook.
Bryan allegedly posted fake Facebook status updates about the case to Facebook, saying he was an investigator who “worked on the case.”
Rumi also allegedly used Facebook to promote a fake Facebook page that advertised for the murder of the woman who Rumi allegedly raped, police said.
Police also said Ruminas Facebook page contained a fake account that was used to solicit other victims to come forward with information about the alleged case.
Rumi was arrested on Thursday in Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also denied the allegations.
“I don’t know how I can believe this.
I’m not even going to answer to it,” Duterte said at an event at the National Palace in Manila, where he is attending a summit with China’s Xi Jinping.
Duterte was referring to the allegations that he raped Rumi after the two had an affair in 2010.
In March, Duterte signed into law a law that allows police to search Facebook’s servers for the location of any user who has posted a threat or a bounty.
“They [police] are not going to find anything.
I know that I am the president of the Philippines and that I can do whatever I want.
I can make these things happen,” Duterte told reporters after the signing.
He also said that he would pay Rumi for her silence, though he later clarified that he did not mean that he was paid by Rumi.
“If she has nothing, then we will pay you,” Duterte reportedly said.
The Philippines has seen a spate of recent cases of online harassment and threats, which have led to an increase in police investigations.
Last month, police in the central city of Davao arrested a 23-year old man on charges of harassing women and posting fake posts about them on social media.
In February, authorities in the southern city of Cebu arrested a 27-year long-time Facebook user who they said threatened to kill her mother and a 16-year former employee of Facebook.