Bulatlat says Facebook page restricted over community standards ‘violations’

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Bulatlat says Facebook page restricted over community standards �violations�
This picture taken on January 12, 2023 in Toulouse, southwestern France shows a smartphone and a computer screen displaying the logos of the social network Facebook and its parent company Meta.
AFP / Lionel Bonaventure

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:39 a.m.) — Independent news outlet Bulatlat reported Wednesday that its Facebook page has been restricted over alleged violations of community standards.

Bulatlat said in a statement that it received a notification around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday that its page was at risk of being unpublished.

"Meta has also reduced distribution, and imposed other restrictions supposedly due to ‘continued violations of community standards,’" Bulatlat said.

It is not yet clear which parts of Facebook’s community standards were supposedly violated by Bulatlat. Philstar.com has reached out to Meta for comment.

Bulatlat added that Meta removed a quote from its past interview with deceased Communist Party of the Philippines central committee chairperson Benito Tiamzon.

"Bulatlat deplores this latest form of censorship by the social media giant, which was done, ironically, on World Press Freedom [Day,]" the news outlet said.

Bulatlat said it has questioned Meta’s decision and is awaiting its response.

Facebook's content enforcement policies

According to a post on Facebook community standards, the platform "[does] not allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on Facebook."  

Meta includes "entities that engage in serious offline harms — including organizing or advocating for violence against civilians" in its Tier 1 of content enforcement.

Meta said on its post on community standards that, under its content moderation policies, "[w]e remove praise, substantive support and representation of Tier 1 entities as well as their leaders, founders or prominent members."

Previously, the news outlet's website along with dozens of other sites belonging to progressive groups were blocked by the National Telecommunications Commission upon the request of former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

In requesting the blocking of websites, Esperon claimed that these groups were "affiliated to and are supporting" terrorists, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Bulatlat and other groups have denied this accusation.

The news outlet has scored a court order temporarily halting the implementation of the blocking of its website pending a final decision on its petition questioning the NTC’s move.

"The blocking of Bulatlat’s website also renders its more than two decades of human rights reporting inaccessible to Philippine-based readers, allowing perpetrators to further evade accountability," Bulatlat said in a separate statement.

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