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Marcos camp disowns Twitter network suspended for manipulation, spam

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Marcos camp disowns Twitter network suspended for manipulation, spam
In this file photo taken on July 10, 2019 The Twitter logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019.
AFP / Alastair Pike

MANILA, Philippines — (Updated 10:36 a.m.) The campaign of presidential aspirant and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. disowned the accounts which Twitter suspended for violating its policy against platform manipulation and spam.

“While it is true that there could have been hundreds of Twitter accounts that were suspended, there is no certainty that all of them belong to the supporters of Bongbong Marcos,” said Vic Rodriguez, spokesperson for the late dictator’s son.

Twitter said Friday that it suspended more than 300 accounts promoting Marcos for violating the social networking site’s policies.

This came three days after Rappler published an investigation showing that the accounts tweeting in favor of Marcos were mostly created around the last quarter of 2021 or were revived.

Despite documenting and analyzing the network of Twitter accounts obviously supportive of Marcos and his presidential bid, Rodriguez accused Rappler of “using a disinformation network.”

He even went on to claim that Twitter never mentioned any accounts in the Marcos network or the exact number of accounts that were suspended.

But according to Twitter, it has reviewed the accounts mentioned in the Rappler investigation and suspended more than 300 accounts for violating its policies, with most of these accounts being taken down even before the story's publication.

Rappler also said in a report that Twitter’s statement “was in fact a direct response to Rappler’s investigation, as the platform conducted their own review of the hashtags and accounts mentioned in the story.”

Marcos has previously denied employing troll farms, stressing that his supporters on social media are "real."

This is not the first time that a social networking site took down networks of accounts supportive of a member of the Marcos family for violating its policies.

In September 2020, Facebook removed two networks of accounts originating from the Philippines and China for violating its policy on coordinated inauthentic behavior, or the use of fake accounts. 

Social analytics firm Graphika found that the focus of the Chinese network on Sen. Imee Marcos, who was running for senator at the time, was “particularly striking” as around 30 accounts focusing on her were created from March to April 2019. — Xave Gregorio with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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