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Duterte warns Facebook after coordinated fake accounts are taken down

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Sep 29, 2020 12:16 am Updated Oct 02, 2020 9:00 am

President Duterte addresses the nation Monday night.

In his pre-recorded Monday night address, President Duterte warned Facebook, “You cannot lay down policy for my government.”

“Facebook, listen to me. We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also. 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?” Duterte remarked on Sept. 28.

The President’s statement came days after Facebook removed over a hundred coordinated fake accounts and pages with links to the Philippine military, police and China that were found to have violated the tech giant’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, whose official Facebook pages were not taken down by Facebook, reportedly disowned the fake accounts with malicious activities.

In an official statement released on Sept. 22, Facebook said it removed two separate networks that originated in China and the Philippines, where people behind them coordinated with one another to use fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people.

In its page, Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher explained that coordinated inauthenticbehavior “is when a group of pages and people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they are doing.” He added that they take down these networks because of their deceptive behavior and not because of the content these networks are sharing.

"In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing, and that was the basis for our action. When we investigate and remove these operations, we focus on behavior rather than content, no matter who’s behind them, what they post, or whether they’re foreign or domestic."

Gleicher also said that Facebook might take a network down for making it look like it is being run from one part of the world when it is in fact run from another, which could be done because of ideological purposes or could be financially motivated.

“If government cannot use it (Facebook) for the good of the people, then we have to talk. We have to talk sense. If you are promoting the cause of the rebellion which was already here before you came, and so many thousands of my soldiers and civilians dying, then if you cannot reconcile the idea of what your purpose is or whas, then we have to talk. I don’t know what I will do but we have to talk,” Duterte said.

In a radio interview Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the supporters of the administration would likely to find another social media platform to spread information after the page takedowns.

In 2019, Facebook also purged 175 accounts, groups and pages, and 25 Instagram accounts linked to Nic Gabunda, the former social media manager of President Duterte during the 2016 Presidential elections.