CPP says takedown of pro-Duterte FB accounts shows his popularity just product of trolls
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The takedown of at least 155 Facebook troll accounts linked to President Rodrigo Duterte only showed that his so-called popularity is made up, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement on Thursday (Sept. 24).
“As people have long suspected, Duterte’s claims to popular support is all a big hoax,” said the CPP statement signed by Marco Valbuena, the party’s information officer, emailed to news outlets.
He was referring to the removal of at least 200 accounts, most of them originating from Fujian, China and many allegedly being operated by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook security policy, said on Tuesday (Sept. 22) that the accounts and pages were flagged due to their “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on social media.
“It is now becoming exposed that the so-called Duterte Diehard Supporters is a manufactured trend generated by a state-funded troll-farm of hundreds of networked government-controlled Facebook and other social media accounts,” Valbuena said.
He said these accounts and pages were being maintained by a highly compensated copy-and-paste brigade of the administration.
According to reports, one of the military operators was identified as Capt. Alexandre Cabales, said to be the account chief of the Philippine Army’s social media center.
“This network uses people’s money to manipulate public opinion with their false narrative of anti-democracy and anti-communism and promoting fascism and blind Duterte idolatry. This is inextricably linked to the Duterte regime’s dirty war directed against the people,” Valbuena said.
He also said the accounts had been found to reflect the official propaganda line of the AFP and the PNP which typically targeted activists, human rights advocates and other critics of the Duterte administration.
“They invariably use Duterte-inspired foul language, engage in Red-tagging and incite violence to threaten and intimidate,” Valbuena’s statement said.
“It is fine that Facebook has taken down the network of fake accounts linked to the AFP and PNP. It is widely believed, however, that hundreds or thousands more of similar accounts are being run by state agents,” Valbuena said.
Worse, the social media accounts of military and police agencies are themselves troll accounts which work hand in hand with Malacañang’s communications office and are in fact instigators of fascist propaganda and psychological-warfare operations, the CPP statement said.
In separate statements issued on Wednesday, the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines disowned the social media accounts that had been created by fictitious users and being linked to the police and military.
Gen. Camilo Cascolan, PNP chief, said all official FB pages of the PNP and its units had been compliant with the social media standards and continue to serve its purposes along these objectives.
Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, military spokesperson, said not all the social media accounts of the Armed Forces had been shut down by Facebook, so far.
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