DILG set to meet with Facebook execs next week
In this Feb. 18, 2019 photo, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año addresses questions from the press.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas Jr.
DILG set to meet with Facebook execs next week
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 22, 2020 - 4:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — Executives of social networking website Facebook are set to meet with ranking members of the interior department next week, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday. 

Speaking at a webinar for information officers of the DILG, Año said that he expects the two sides to come up with solutions "on how social media can help the government fight fake news and disinformation."

The DILG chief again pointed out that the pages were taken down "without prior consultation and due notice," though Facebook reserves the right to take down accounts it deems necessary in its User Agreement. 

Section 4.2 of the social networking platform's terms of service, for instance, reads: "If we determine that you have clearly, seriously or repeatedly breached our Terms or Policies, including in particular our Community Standards, we may suspend or permanently disable access to your account. We may also suspend or disable your account if you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights or where we are required to do so for legal reasons."

“Factual information can empower people to partake in nation-building such as government’s efforts to control COVID-19,” said Año.

"[C]riminals and extremist groups have taken advantage of the pandemic to sabotage the delivery of government services," he also said. 

RELATED: Año cries foul over busted Facebook accounts, slams company 'bias'

This comes after the social networking giant earlier took down what it called networks of fake accounts engaged in "coordinated and inauthentic behavior" and that it said were linked to the Philippine military and police.

"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police," Facebook's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a post announcing the takedowns.

"We removed 155 accounts, 11 Pages, 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity," he added. 

In response, President Rodrigo Duterte at the time went on to accuse the social networking platform of encouraging communists, a label his administration has comfortably slapped on its critics. 

The DILG and red-tagging 

Support for and membership in an activist group does not mean support for or membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines or the New People's Army but the government has been pushing this narrative as early as 2017, when President Rodrigo Duterte accused transport group Piston, human rights group Karapatan and labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno of committing rebellion.

Año is a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the government's anti-communist task force which has been the source of disinformation against government critics, including journalists and activists, over the coronavirus pandemic, having been caught in a lie on more than one occasion.

The interior chief himself has said that enforcers caught red-tagging won't be tolerated, though he continues to defend the pages taken down by Facebook. 

The national police, an attached bureau under the DILG, has also used its official channels to target and publicly red-tag critical groups and figures, contrary to its own social media rules and protocols. Despite warnings from police leadership, police pages continue to post similar content. 

RELATED: Dura 'Likes': PNP social media rules and what police actually post

Just on Thursday, Philip Jamilla, public information researcher of rights monitor Karapatan was red-tagged in a graphic posted by an account called @pcrcabuyaocps that is followed by the official Philippine National Police Twitter account. In the graphic, which reads: "No to CPP-NPA-NDF. Hands off our children!" 

"We're going to rally because we have P750 from the CPP-NPA," the graphic reads, though it is unclear to whom the quote is attributed. 

Screenshot shows a tweet by @pcrcabuyaocps that red-tags Karapatan public information officer Philip Jamilla.
Philstar.com screengrab


As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 10, 2020 - 1:54pm

Follow this thread for updates on social media attacks, trolling, and other threats

November 10, 2020 - 1:54pm

Following the lead of Twitter and YouTube, Facebook on Monday removed several pages linked to former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon, whose content pushed unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

According to the human rights group Avaaz, the social media giant took down seven pages directly linked to Bannon that had 2.45 million followers and that the group flagged to Facebook content monitors on Friday.

"Our team had identified some of these pages earlier this year for repeatedly sharing misinformation on false 'voter fraud' claims potentially reaching 10 million views in the last week alone," an Avaaz spokesman said.

"We've removed several clusters of activity for using inauthentic behavior tactics to artificially boost how many people saw their content,” a Facebook spokesperson said. — AFP

October 14, 2020 - 12:47pm

Twitter says it had suspended several fake accounts purporting to be African Americans who support President Donald Trump and which had succeeded in garnering several thousand followers in just a few days.

"Our teams are working diligently to investigate this activity and will take action in line with the Twitter rules if Tweets are found to be in violation," says a spokesman for the San Francisco-based company.

Darren Linvill, a professor at Clemson University who specializes in disinformation on social media, published some examples of the fake accounts on Twitter, accusing them of using "digital black face." — AFP

October 8, 2020 - 12:05pm

Facebook is allowing climate misinformation ads to proliferate despite claiming it is committed to rooting out the problem, a new report by a think tank says Thursday.

InfluenceMap used the platform's own data to identify 51 ads denying the link between human activity and climate change that were viewed a total of eight million times over the first half of 2020.

This was despite the fact that Facebook bans false ads, and stated as recently as September that it is "committed to tackling climate change through our global operations."

Out of the 51 ads identified, only one was removed by the social media giant while the rest were allowed to run for the entirety of their scheduled campaign. — AFP

October 5, 2020 - 2:00pm

The Department of the Interior and Local Government expresses concern with Facebook's "sense of fairness" following the taking down of Philippine accounts supposedly linked to military and police establishments for "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

"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," DILG Secretary Eduardo Año says in a statement.

Año urges Facebook officials to hold talks with the Philippine government to address the issue, roll back changes and restore the Facebook pages in question.

September 28, 2020 - 10:54pm

Duterte calls out Facebook over the removal of pages for "coordinated inauthentic behavior", which included pages linked to the military and police and an advocacy page of parents whose children were recruited by communist rebels.

"You cannot lay down a policy for my government. I allow you to operate here. You cannot prevent me from espousing the objectives of government," he says.

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