The Washington Examiner: GOP lawmaker victimized by scams takes aim at fake social media accounts

A Republican lawmaker is crafting legislation aiming at removing fake accounts from online social media platforms.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is working with Facebook to craft regulations to cut down on the amount of fake accounts and scams that take place on its platforms, according to the New York Times. Kinzinger has been the victim of numerous scams for over a decade as people use his image and often his name to create fake accounts.

Kinzinger is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. The names and likenesses of U.S. service members are used to create thousands of fake social media accounts.

Dozens of victims of online hoaxes have contacted Kinzinger and his congressional staff claiming to have been in an online relationship with the congressman. In one case, a woman flew from India to Rockford, Illinois to meet Kinzinger, claiming she had been speaking with him online for months.

"She waited around in that bus station for two weeks for me to show up, and I didn't," Kinzinger said. "She's a poor lady, too. It took all her money to fly from India to me."

Kinzinger wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg on Wednesday voicing concern about the number of fake accounts and hoaxes perpetrated on the tech executive’s platforms.

"Every day, there are countless by malicious actors to use your platform to scam others," Kinzinger said. The Illinois Republican requested information from Zuckerburg on Facebook's attempts to cut down fake accounts from its platforms.

"You have stated publicly that Facebook has a responsibility to protect your users and their data, and that 'the safety of people using Facebook needs to come before profit,'" Kinzinger wrote. "I fully agree, and while I understand that progress has been made, Facebook would not exist without its users. Thus, so much more must be done to protect them. I urge you to further expand your efforts on these fronts."

Facebook is still going over the letter to decide an appropriate response.


The original article can be found on The Washington Examiner website here.