Kinzinger Introduces Legislation to Combat Social Media Scams
This week, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) introduced legislation to help combat social media scams by holding violators more accountable and requiring platforms to take more responsibility with user protections.
Washington, DC – This week, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) introduced legislation to help combat social media scams by holding violators more accountable and requiring platforms to take more responsibility with user protections. As the nation fights this global COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen far too many bad actors take advantage of the vulnerable public with misinformation and fraudulent activity, including the creation of fake accounts to further mislead people on social media.
In an effort to combat this, Congressman Kinzinger introduced his legislation in two separate measures: H.R. 6586, the Social Media Accountability and Account Verification Act and H.R. 6587, the Social Media Fraud Mitigation Act. Both of these measures are designed to curb fraudulent activity on social media by addressing the situation with the social media companies and with the bad actors trying to exploit others on these platforms. On his legislation, Congressman Kinzinger released the following statement:
“Technology is critical to our everyday life, especially right now when we are all social distancing from one another. Social media keeps us connected when we can’t be together in person and the different platforms help entertain us, inspire us, and inform us about what is happening in the world. But malign activity and misinformation on the internet are very real problems that need to be addressed.
“For years, I have called for increased consumer protections from social media companies on fake accounts and on bad actors who use these platforms to exploit others. I’ve spoken up about my own experiences with fraudulent accounts and people using my photos to scam and deceive others. I’ve talked with social media companies about the issues and ideas for more accountability on verifying profiles, but their efforts to date have not been enough. So now, I’m taking action.
“By introducing these two bills, I hope to draw attention to the very real problem at hand and encourage my colleagues to join me in this effort. H.R. 6586 will have the Federal Trade Commission institute a rule that requires more action from social media companies to field and investigate complaints about deceptive accounts or other fraudulent activity on their platforms. This measure also holds individuals accountable if they continually make complaints or file reports in bad faith, or if they falsely accuse individuals of deceptive behavior. The second bill, H.R. 6587, goes after the scammers and bad actors by creating criminal penalties for the individuals who create these deceptive accounts and engage in the fraudulent behavior. It’s important that we’re protecting consumers of the social media platforms, and holding perpetrators of malign behavior accountable.
“Today is a starting point. We have to get a handle on the fraud that’s costing vulnerable Americans their life savings and their sense of security. I’ve heard too many tragic stories about women and men who have been scammed on social media platforms and were left emotionally and financially broke. My staff and I find fake accounts on various platforms all the time, and while we can report them to social media representatives and get them taken care of fairly quickly, that’s not the case for everyone – but I believe it should be. More needs to be done to help victims of this type of fraud, and I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help curb this deceptive activity on social media and hold bad actors accountable.”
The bill text for both H.R. 6586 and H.R. 6587 can be found attached and on the website here. For more on the Congressman’s work on combatting social media and cyber fraud, please see the ‘RELATED’ section below, which includes the profile piece by the New York Times on people using the Congressman’s photos to scam people out of thousands of dollars.
New York Times – Another Victim in Facebook Romance Scams: A U.S. Congressman
Northwest Herald – OUR VIEW: Congressman is right – fake profiles are a real problem
TV: CBS News – A problem for Facebook users: Identity scams