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Palace blasts Facebook ‘censorship’: Why only take down pro-gov’t pages?

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 02:42 PM September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday questioned why Facebook only shut down pages that were in support of the government, but not those criticizing the administration.

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Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque lamented how the social media platform supposedly stepped on freedom of speech and exercised “censorship” when it took down pages of “advocacy groups” on Facebook.

“Ang sinasabi ni Presidente, dapat maging patas sila. Bakit ang freedom of speech binibigay lang nila sa mga kontra gobyerno? Bakit naman sinusupil nila yung boses ng kampi po sa gobyerno?” Roque said in an online briefing.

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(What the President is saying is for them to be fair. Why are they only giving freedom of speech to those who oppose the government? Why are they suppressing the voices of those who are for the government?)

“We believe in freedom of speech. They may use as justification the inauthentic behavior but the effect is censorship,” he added.

Facebook has shut down China-based fake accounts and pages which were supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and the possible 2022 election bid of his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. It also shut down pages traced to the military and police.

“Coordinated inauthentic behavior” was observed in the pages taken down which according to Facebook’s community standards, refers to the use of multiple accounts to “mislead people.”

“Sabi nila, inauthentic behavior. So hindi issue ngayon ang fake news. Ang issue dito is ano yung epekto ng pagtatanggal ng mga pages na yan. And Philippine government submits, it’s a form of censorship,” Roque said.

(They said it’s inauthentic behavior. So fake news is not an issue here. The issue is the effect of the pages. And the Philippine government submits, it’s a form of censorship.)

Roque also floated the idea of the government having its own fact-checkers since Facebook only tapped partners like Rappler and Vera Files, whom he said were critical of the Duterte administration.

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“Bakit ang fact-checkers [ay] laban sa gobyerno? Sino pa dito sa bayan na ito ang magdududa na ang Rappler at ang Vera Files ay talaga namang kontra sa administrasyon ni Presidente Duterte?” Roque said.

Rappler and Vera Files were certified by the International Fact-Checking Network to allow them to review and fact-check news on Facebook.

“Pag-aaralan po natin kung dapat gawin na natin iyan, dahil hindi naman tayo makakapayag na ang fact-checkers eh tanging mga laban lamang sa gobyerno,” he added.

(We will study that because we cannot allow fact-checkers to be limited to those who are against the government.)

Duterte berated Facebook in his nation address Monday night for supposedly laying down policy on the government after taking down pages supportive of the administration.

The President also questioned the social media platform’s purpose in the country if it would take down “advocacy” pages of the government.

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TAGS: Censorship, Facebook, Freedom of Speech, Palace, President Rodrigo Duterte, Social Media
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