Netizens raise eyebrows over Facebook purge on accounts, pages

Facebook’s recent move to suspend some 155 accounts and shut down several pages for violating its policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) was questioned by netizens, with some calling for a probe on the social media giant.

Several netizens have appealed to Congress to launch an investigation and find out the “operational scheme” of Facebook in the country.

“The Philippine government can file a case against the manager of Facebook Philippines for suppression of information and arbitrary censorship,” wrote one netizen on the comment section of the Philippine News Agency’s (PNA) post.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his recent public address, slammed Facebook over its move to take down several accounts and pages.

Duterte’s remarks versus Facebook were published on the PNA website on Sept. 29 which raked in 2,600 reactions and 307 comments as of posting.

One netizen has suggested an investigation against workers of the Facebook Philippines.

Another netizen, meanwhile, recommended the replacement of people handling Facebook Philippines’ operations.

Other netizens, meanwhile, shared their thoughts in an online survey made by media firm News5 titled, “Dapat bang i-ban ang Facebook sa Pilipinas?,” which garnered some 8,200 reactions as of posting.

One commenter said there is no reason for a company such as Facebook PH to operate if it is only meddling with “national interest”.

“Simply put, if a company that operates in the Philippines gets in the way of the national interest, there is no reason for them to operate,” wrote a netizen.

Some netizens argued that leftists may have influenced the decision of the social media giant and should be removed from the job.

Tanggalin ng Facebook and mga empleyado nila na pro-NPA (Facebook should remove their employees who are allied with the NPA [New People’s Army],” one commenter said.

One netizen defended President Duterte’s remarks, saying the chief executive never mentioned about banning Facebook.

Ang sabi lang niya makikipag-usap siya dahil sa ginawa ng (He just wanted to talk about the move of the) Facebook PH,” a netizen commented.

The government should negotiate with the internet giant to modify some guidelines on the use of the application, said one commenter.

“The government should not ban Facebook in the entire Philippines. Facebook has been an outlet for the majority of tech-savvy Filipinos including those who are coping with technology,” wrote a netizen, who is reacting to the possible ban of the application in the country.

“It has been a channel of various platforms worldwide that help a person and a person’s life local and international. Instead, the government should negotiate on modifying some guidelines on Facebook,” the netizen added.

Shutting down causes

Advocacy group “Hands Off Our Children” was one of those pages hit by Facebook’s move, along with other pages and accounts that are known for denouncing several atrocities committed by the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

One of the group’s members, Relissa Lucena, mother of a student activist who was reportedly recruited by a militant organization, expressed disappointment over Facebook’s decision to take down the “Hands Off Our Children” page and its members’ private accounts.

Hindi ko po alam ang basehan ng (I do not know the basis of the) Facebook Philipines, kung ano po ang basehan nila para i-take down nila ang aming page (what is the reason why they took down our page),” she said in a video statement.

Una sa lahat, totoo po kaming tao, totoo po kaming mga magulang at totoo pong nawala sa aming ang aming mga anak (First and foremost, we are real people, we are real parents and it is true that our children were taken away from us),” she added.

Lucena insisted that the group is only advocating against militant organizations which she said have been recruiting children to join groups which would lead them to become part of the communist terrorist groups.

Wala po kayong karapatan para alisan kami ng tinig, ginawa namin yung Hands Off our Children para marinig, para magkaroon kami ng simpatya mula saibang tao para matulungan kami na makuha yung mga anaka namin (You don’t have the right to remove our voices. We created Hands Off our Children [page] to be heard so that we can get sympathy from other people, to help us get our children),” Lucena said, as she questioned the basis of the social media giant to shut down their group’s page and why their private accounts were among those included in the so-called purge.

Sana matulungan kami ng gobyerno na maibalik ang aming mga account (We hope the government could help us bring back our [FB] accounts),” she added.

She said she and the rest of the parents whose children were reportedly recruited by militant groups, are only using Facebook to denounce the exploitation of these groups against minors.

In a virtual public address on Monday, Duterte warned Facebook that it cannot lay down a policy for his government.

“I allow you to operate here, you cannot bar or prevent me from espousing the objectives of the government,” Duterte said.

“You know Facebook, insurgency is about overturning government. What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us,” he said. “We are not advocating mass destruction, we are not advocating massacre. It’s a fight of ideas.” (PNA)

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