Did Facebook restrict NTF-ELCAC spokesperson’s account?

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Did Facebook restrict NTF-ELCAC spokesperson�s account?
File photo shows National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Lorraine Badoy.

MANILA, Philippines — The usually vocal spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-communist task force has been relatively silent on her main platform, Facebook, for a few days now, apparently due to her account getting restricted by the social media giant over violations of its community standards.

A post by a certain Angel Abella shared on the profile of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Lorraine Badoy showed that the latter has been restricted by Facebook from posting or commenting for 30 days after it took down at least three posts that violated community standards.

Edit: Naku, naku, naku. Eto na at binabantayan na ang posts ko ng mga mass reporters! What a life they must be living....

Posted by Angel Abella on Thursday, March 4, 2021

The apparent restriction on the account of Badoy came after she baselessly labelled Rappler “a friend and ally” and “mouthpiece” of communist rebels in separate Facebook posts where she aired her grievances over two fact-check articles by the news site correcting false claims on Lumads and an Indigenous school that caters to them.

Incidentally, these posts about Rappler could no longer be found on Badoy’s profile, indicating that they may have been taken down.

A Facebook company spokesperson confirmed to Philstar.com that they have removed several posts from its platform for violating its policy against violence and incitement, but did not say whether these were Badoy’s posts.

Facebook also said that it restricted an account from posting for three days due to repeated violations of their community standards, but did not say if this was Badoy’s account.

“We do not allow people to post content that could contribute to offline harm. Accounts that repeatedly violate our policies may face stronger enforcement action such as restrictions on posting,” a Facebook company spokesperson said.

Government officials have repeatedly accused critics and activists of links with communist rebels, a practice that the UN Human Rights Office has warned is being "increasingly institutionalized and normalized in ways that will be very difficult to reverse."

The UN office said in a June 2020 report that "the focus is diverted to discrediting the messengers rather than examining the substance of the message. This has muddied the space for debate, disagreement and for challenging state institutions and policies."

People, including lawyers and rights workers, who were previously red-tagged have ended up killed. 

Violence and incitement

Facebook’s community standards, which all users agree to comply with by using the social media platform, has a policy against violence and incitement, which aims to prevent potential real-life harm to individuals.

“We remove language that incites or facilitates serious violence. We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety,” said Facebook’s community standards.

Among those prohibited under Facebook’s policy against violence and incitement is “misinformation and unverifiable rumors that contribute to the risk of imminent violence or physical harm.”

It also takes down content that identifies an individual or as a member of a designated and recognizable “at-risk group.”

Badoy, along with fellow NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, are notorious for red-tagging, or accusing individuals and groups of being connected with communist rebels.

READ: Journalists demand Parlade apology for threat to reporter over story he disputes

Rights groups have consistently warned against red-tagging, as those accused can be exposed to harassment, threats to life and even death.

Several activists and lawyers who have been red-tagged have received death threats, faced attempts to kill them, or worse, have actually been killed.

Most recently, National Union of People’s Lawyers Assistant Vice President for Visayas Angelo Karlo Guillen survived an attack where he was stabbed in the head and on the shoulder.

RELATED: Following attack on Iloilo lawyer, NUPL demands government action to stop threats, killings

Guillen, according to rights group Karapatan, has been red-tagged as early as 2018 when his photo was included in posters around Iloilo City, tagging him along with leaders and members of various organizations as members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Facebook has become a platform for these dangerous claims, with Duterte’s NTF-ELCAC, along with police and military units, leading the charge, often against critics of the government.

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