Año: Facebook took away freedom of speech
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, a retired Army general who now also oversees the Philippine National Police, said Facebook “has not been transparent” with its investigation of the accounts for supposed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
STAR/File
Año: Facebook took away freedom of speech
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Neil Jayson Servallos (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Facebook’s takedown of Filipino accounts with supposed ties to the police and military was a “unilateral” act that took away the guarantee of free speech on major issues, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said yesterday.

Año, a retired Army general who now also oversees the Philippine National Police (PNP), said Facebook “has not been transparent” with its investigation of the accounts for supposed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

“These pages were private accounts and must enjoy the guarantee of free speech on major issues of social concern under the Philippine Constitution and Philippine laws,” he said.

Facebook took down 57 accounts and 31 pages as well as 20 Instagram accounts with ties to the police and military. They had 276,000 followers on Facebook and about 5,500 followers on Instagram.

Facebook also took down a Chinese network of accounts that posted content supportive of President Duterte and the potential presidential bid of his daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte.

Citing his concern with the social network’s “sense of fairness,” Año accused Facebook of failing to weed out “bot accounts” maintained by groups and individuals he alleged to be out to overthrow the government.

He called on Facebook officials to engage in talks with Philippine government officials to address the issue and eventually restore these accounts.

Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, who is seeking a Senate inquiry into the matter, said Facebook should allow both pro-government and anti-government accounts to post.

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