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Facebook warns users against 'liking' SMNI News page

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Apr 06, 2022 3:18 pm Updated Apr 06, 2022 3:25 pm

Facebook is warning users against 'liking' the official page of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) for violating its posting policies.

Users who will click the Like button of the SMNI News page will now receive a prompt that says, "This Page has shared posts that violate our Community Standards. Review posts in this page before liking it."

According to Facebook's policy page, its community standards allow users to talk openly about issues that matter to them without promoting abuse or risking the safety of other users on its website.

This set of rules, as Facebook says, is based on the advice of experts in fields like technology, public safety, and human rights. It includes the removal of posts, accounts, or pages spreading misinformation on COVID-19 and vaccines, as well as those promoting violence and self-harm, child and adult sexual exploitation, and hate speech.

In addition, Facebook's community standards aim to promote election and census integrity and therefore include the removal of posts promoting misinformation that is "likely to directly contribute to a risk of interference with people's ability to participate in those processes."

SMNI News rebutted Facebook's move to limit users from liking its page with a post published earlier today, April 6. It claims that the network is not a "red-tagger" and "fake news enabler" but rather "(ang) totoong bosses ng bayan."

"Pero sino nga ba ang mga nagsasabi ng ganito?" SMNI said. "Sigurado kami na sila ay mga NPA-lover, mga oligarch-lover, mga illegal drugs-lover."

"Sabi nila kami ay nanlilinlang kaya hindi kami dapat pagkatiwalaan. Sabi nila kami ay may pinapaboran at pinapanigan. Oo, panig kami sa katotohanan, sa kabutihan, sa kaunlaran. Panig kami sa totoong boses ng bayan. Kaya binubulgar namin ang mga taksil, anay, at salot ng lipunan. Nang dahil sa SMNI, marami na ang natauhan," SMNI added.

Screenshot from SMNI News on Facebook

Facebook's action against the network isn't the first time that SMNI got into hot water. According to a report by RapplerSMNI's chairman and President Rodrigo Duterte's spiritual adviser Apollo Quiboloy has long been accused of disguising propaganda as news during Duterte's administration.

The outlet reported that articles published by Quiboloy's network included words such as "presstitute  (a portmanteau of press and prostitute),” “bayaran (paid hacks),” and “bias" to describe journalists and activists.

The preacher and his Davao-based church, Kingdom of Jesus Christ Name above Every Name or KJC, were accused of land-grabbing — mostly from indigenous people — to expand the 8-hectare compound of his organization over a decade ago.

In November 2021, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation announced sex-trafficking charges on Quiboloy for allegedly recruiting women as young as 12 years old to be his personal assistants or "pastorals." Part of their tasks was to have sex with the pastor during their "night duty."

In recent months, Quiboloy has made headlines for endorsing presidential aspirant Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao Mayor Sara Duterte in the May 2022 polls. The presidential debate organized by Quiboloy's SMNI is so far the only debate attended by Marcos Jr. since the start of his campaign.

Apart from Marcos Jr., the televised debate was participated by other presidential bets, including labor leader Leroy de Guzman. In an interview with ANC's After the Fact," De Guzman said that he felt a home-court advantage for Marcos Jr. during the event. 

"Klaro ‘yun dahil syempre ‘yung nag-sponsor. Pangalawa, ‘yung prosyento ng mga audience ay full force tapos ‘yung mga pagka commercial ang ipapakita ‘yung grupo ni Bongbong Marcos, at saka ‘yung slate niya, ‘yung kanyang mga partylist na sinusuportahan," Leody said. "Kaya talagang ramdam mo na ‘yung lugar at mga audience na nandoon ay court talaga nila Bongbong Marcos."