The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has issued a statement “expressing concern” over Facebook’s takedown of errant social media accounts linked to military and police establishments.
“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,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.
A total of 57 Facebook accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts originating in the Philippines were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB).
“We are also concerned with Facebook’s sense of fairness. For example, while it has actively deleted alleged fake pages linked to the military and police, it has surprisingly failed to root out the bots, or automated accounts, that are being maintained by political and armed groups that are actively seeking to overthrow duly constituted authority in the country,” he added.
Año said this raises a valid question about Facebook’s commitment to effectively police its own platform and the bias of their advisors.
“While it has taken down alleged pro-government pages, it has allowed unfettered access to hate speech spreaders and purveyors of fake news from Communist Terrorist Groups, for example, who are actively working to bring down our democratic way of life.
“We, therefore, urge Facebook officials to hold talks with government counterparts to address the issue, roll back changes, and restore the Facebook pages in question, whenever possible, because recent developments highlight the need for the social media company and government to dialogue to clarify and improve the former’s policies in accordance with Philippine laws,” he added.