DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año on accounts taken down by Facebook

The DILG is concerned with Facebook’s unilateral act of taking down supposedly fake Philippine accounts that were allegedly linked to the military and police establishments for violating its policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior” or CIB because it was done without prior consultation nor were the administrators of these accounts afforded due process.

These pages were private accounts and must enjoy the guarantee of free speech on major issues of social concern under the Philippine Constitution and Philippine laws.

A total of 57 Facebook accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts originating in the Philippines were removed without prior notice nor advice to the administrators of these accounts.

The popular social media platform, which counts the Philippines as one of its biggest markets in the world, has not been transparent in the conduct of its investigation on the questioned Philippine accounts, even if it maintains a large presence in the Philippines.

We are also concerned with Facebook’s sense of fairness.

For example, while it has actively deleted alleged fake pages linked to the military and police, it has surprisingly failed to root out the bots, or automated accounts, that are being maintained by political and armed groups that are actively seeking to overthrow duly constituted authority in the country.

This raises a valid question about Facebook’s commitment to effectively police its own platform and the bias of their advisors.

While, it has taken down alleged pro-government pages, it has allowed unfettered access to hate speech spreaders and purveyors of fake news from Communist Terrorist Groups, for example, who are actively working to bring down our democratic way of life.

We, therefore, urge Facebook officials to hold talks with government counterparts to address the issue, roll back changes, and restore the Facebook pages in question, whenever possible, because recent developments highlights the need for the social media company and government to dialogue to clarify and improve the former’s policies in accordance with Philippine laws.

Such action would further reinforce what Mark Zuckerberg has been saying all along – that it’s a marketplace of ideas that brings people together “so they can then share information and ideas about the things that they’re passionate about.”