Army: Social media a tool for the military but soldiers must follow guidelines
This illustration file picture shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris on February 17, 2019.
AFP/Lionel Bonaventure

Army: Social media a tool for the military but soldiers must follow guidelines

(Philstar.com) - September 27, 2020 - 11:45am

MANILA, Philippines — Army personnel must act professionally online and follow the institution’s social media guidelines, the spokesperson of the Philippine Army said Sunday as social media pages complicit in "red-tagging" activists have been linked to security forces and have come under scrutiny.

Last week, Facebook took down over a hundred accounts and pages with links to the Philippine military and police for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

A separate report of The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab identified Philippine Army Capt. Alexandre Cabales as one of the operators of a network of pages taken down by the social media giant. Cabales administers the closed Hands Off Our Children (HOOC) page and manages Kalinaw News, which is still up and running.

Col. Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson, said the Army is utilizing social media to “show the public peaceful ways of winning the insurgency.”

While it is up to active personnel on how they will use Facebook and other social media accounts, they must comply with Army’s social media guidelines.

“The trust and confidence on soldiers is huge so it is important that we act accordingly on social media, especially the official pages and also the personal pages because you’re in uniform. You reflect the institution,” Zagala told radio dzBB in Filipino.

The Army spokesperson said Army personnel should not post on social media confidential matters, anything that is inappropriate that violates moral values and content that will compromise security.

“Bawal magsinungaling, bawal maglagay ng false news or anything na di totoo. Kailangan accurate,” Zagala also said.

(They cannot lie. They cannot post fake news or anything that isn't true. They have to be accurate)

The accounts that were taken down had posts on the contentious anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

Facebook's Community Standards define "inauthentic behavior" as using Facebook or Instagram assets "to mislead people or Facebook" on their identity, purpose or origin, or on the popularity of a page or post, or "to evade enforcement under our Community Standards."

Although the military earlier denied its hand in the smashed network, it asked Facebook to restore HOOC, which it said was a “legitimate advocacy page.”

The Commission on Human Rights said Friday the supposed link of the Philippine military and police to the accounts casts doubt on the agenda of these institutions. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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