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Facebook restricts account of Pinoy Pulitzer prize-winning journalist

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Facebook restricts account of Pinoy Pulitzer prize-winning journalist
Mogato, in an opinion piece published on Rappler, said he was banned from liking, sharing and commenting on his Facebook account last Monday.
AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Social media platform Facebook has temporarily restricted the account of Filipino Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Manny Mogato after he posted about the government’s controversial procurement of COVID-19 supplies.

Mogato, in an opinion piece published on Rappler, said he was banned from liking, sharing and commenting on his Facebook account last Monday.

He was also not able to use his Messenger account, including making calls to his contacts.

“I virtually became a ghost. On the surface, my Facebook account was up and running. People on my Friends list could send me messages and post on my timeline – commenting, liking and sharing my posts,” he wrote.

“But they could think I was rude for not responding or reacting to their posts. My apologies for that; not my fault,” he added.

Facebook has yet to comment on the matter.

Mogato said his account could have been reported by government supporters when he posted a comment on President Duterte’s threat to cut government ties with the Philippine Red Cross in response to the ongoing Senate investigation on the procurement of pandemic supplies.

The investigation is being headed by Red Cross chairman and Senate Blue Ribbon committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon.

In his post, Mogato said the President has gone crazy for his continued defense of what has been uncovered by the Senate investigation.

He said Duterte must answer the allegations surrounding the deals with Pharmally, as well as the role of his former adviser Michael Yang on the matter.

Mogato said Duterte’s followers could have mass reported his account following his commentary that circulated online.

While he has no issue with the takedown of fake accounts, he noted that Facebook arbitrarily suspended his for three days without any due process.

“It never asked for my side and may not even have looked into what I had posted if it was a violation of community standards,” he said.

“Facebook has an appeal process, but I suggest they review a post thoroughly before it takes unilateral action against an account,” he added.

Mogato conceded that he could take some blame for not identifying himself as a journalist, noting that he has been using an alias since 2016.

He said he was forced to do so after he was hacked and fell victim to cyber bullying for reporting on the Duterte adminsitration’s so-called war on drugs.

“A quick browse through my account should have shown Facebook that I’m real, I’m a journalist and I am no fake,” he wrote.

“But this latest incident got me to think that there is no more reason to use an alias. Followers and ardent admirers of the administration would be on the lookout anyway, for I could make another commentary against the President as he spirals out of control,” he added.

Mogato, a former Reuters journalist, is part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the goverment’s deadly campaign against drugs.

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