Duterte tells Facebook: Why keep operating in PH if you can’t help us?
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is questioning the continuous operation of Facebook in the Philippines after the social media company took down several “advocacy” pages of the government, including those set up by the military and police.
“What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us? ” Duterte said in a pre-recorded address aired Monday night. “It’s so convoluted I cannot understand. But put it this way: Tell me why can’t I use [Facebook] for the benefit of the people?”
“If government cannot use it for the good of the people, then we have to talk. We have to talk sense,” he added.
Last Sept. 23, the Facebook head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced that the social media platform had taken down two networks for coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) — or using a myriad of fake accounts to operate.
One of the networks was traced to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In reaction, Duterte said that it seemed that Facebook believed accusations from leftists critical of his administration.
“Even the advocacy of government was removed. So what’s the purpose of you being here? Facebook, listen to me: We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also,” Duterte said.
“Now, if government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country? And then you’re encouraging the left, then you believe in the left,” he added.
According to Gleicher, the pages that were taken down contained posts critical of the opposition, activists, and the ideals of communism.
But the contents of the posts were not the basis for taking down the accounts, he said. They were taken down because the posts seemed to be aimed at deceiving Facebook users into thinking that the accounts belonged to actual individuals.
The other network taken down by Facebook was traced to a group of individuals in China’s Fujian province. This network had sites with posts in Filipino expressing support for President Rodrigo Duterte and the possible 2022 presidential bid of his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.