- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents reportedly use fake Facebook accounts to monitor suspected undocumented immigrants and lure them into sting operations.
- In one recent instance detailed in a new report by the New York Times, ICE agents used a fake Facebook account to pose as a buyer in a buy/sell/trade group and arrested the seller who agreed to meet up with them.
- The practice seemingly violates Facebook’s terms of service, but it’s unclear whether the social media company is aware of ICE’s fake profiles or is taking action against them.
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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are reportedly turning to a new tool to carry out arrest raids: Facebook.
ICE agents have used fake Facebook accounts to monitor suspected undocumented immigrants and lure them into raids in 2019, according to multiple reports. Most recently, a New York Times report detailed how ICE agents used Facebook and other social media to carry out a series of arrests in Oregon this summer.
In one instance, according to the report, an undocumented woman named Gladys Díaz Tadeo made a Facebook post in a private buy/sell/trade group advertising a piñata that she had made with her three daughters. The next day, a Facebook account with a “Hispanic name” and a profile picture of a dog had responded to her listing.
Díaz agreed to meet the person by a local bank to sell them the piñata, the Times reports. When she arrived at the bank, however, two ICE agents were waiting to handcuff her. She was deported to Mexico three weeks later. The Facebook account that had responded to her listing was apparently deleted in the days that followed.
This isn’t the first time ICE agents have reportedly used fake Facebook accounts to carry out arrests. The agency used a number of phony profiles from 2015 onward to lure undocumented students into a sting operation in Michigan, the Guardian reported.
The practice violates Facebook’s rules, which prohibit “inauthentic behaviour” including running accounts with fake names or accounts that mislead people.
A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. In April, a Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian that the company would take action against any fake profiles it becomes aware of. However, the use of fake profile by law enforcement agencies has persisted.
An ICE spokesperson declined to comment, citing an agency policy against commenting on “investigative techniques, tactics or tools.”
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