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Roque says Duterte campaign team made good use of Facebook in 2016

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 05:02 PM December 29, 2017
roque palace

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque gestures during a recent media briefing held in New Executive Bldg. in Malcañang.
INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

President Rodrigo Duterte would have been a fool if he did not utilize Facebook as a campaign tool in the 2016 presidential elections, a Palace official said on Friday.

This was in response to MSNBC’s report on how fake news spread through the online platform played a huge role in the Chief Executive’s successful election campaign.

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Wednesday that Duterte, unlike his rivals in 2016, was the “best candidate” who made good use of Facebook.

“It would have been foolhardy for any political candidate not to tap Facebook as (a) campaign tool. All candidates did so, unfortunately for his detractors, President Duterte had been the best candidate to have utilized Facebook the most,” Roque said in an audio statement.

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“Again, the internet is the physical manifestation of free marketplace of ideas, and it should made to flourish. As freedom of expression is responsible for freedom of thought and public opinion which we know will fiscalize governments,” he added.

In a 10-minute segment aired Wednesday, MSNBC’s The Beat news anchor Ari Melber reported that Facebook had flew into the Philippines three of its employees who spent a week holding training sessions with candidates’ campaign team, including Duterte’s.

“But giving tips to a few campaigns in a constitutional democracy can be different in giving tips to this authoritarian, Duterte. And Facebook learned that quickly,” Melber said.

“In fact, after his team got that Facebook briefing, his allies went into overdrive pushing fake news and accounts, along with his wider campaigns. And that brings us back—guess who—well, it’s the Pope,” he added.

Melber cited the widely-shared fake news on March 22, 2016 about Pope Francis endorsing Duterte—a similar story that made rounds online in the United States with the Pope endorsing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump just before their polls in November last year.

“And this is basically a kind of a sign that if you get a Pope endorsement, you are the fake news candidate,” he emphasized.

Roque, however, dismissed the report, saying there is no such policy to spread fake news—and if there is, the President would not have had fallen victim to made-up stories.

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“Wala talagang polisiya na magpakalat ng fake news. Unang-una, ang administrasyon mismo biktima ng fake news, sinasabi nila na si Presidente daw ang nagpapautos nitong mga patayan na ito,” he said in a separate interview, apparently referring to the mounting death toll in the government’s crackdown against illegal drugs.

(There is no policy of fake news. In the first place, the administration itself is a victim of fake news. They say that the President ordered these killings.) /jpv

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TAGS: 2016 campaign, duterte, Facebook, msnbc, Palace, Roque
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