Duterte threatens to shut down Facebook in the Philippines and demands cooperation

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The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, threatened the Facebook social network with its closure in the country, after the company eliminated last week several accounts linked to the Philippine Armed Forces and Police, for violating the platform’s rules.

Facebook, listen to me. We allow them to operate here in the hope that they can help us. If the government cannot defend something that is for the good of the people, what is its purpose here in my country? “Duterte said in a televised speech.

Fake accounts

The company last week removed a network of 57 Facebook accounts, 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts linked to Philippine security forces for “inauthentic coordinated behavior” and the use of profiles to “mislead about your identity, purpose or origin, “said the company’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleiche.

The network published in English and Tagalog propaganda news about the military activities against insurgencies, the advantages of the controversial antiterrorist law passed in July; as well as criticism of leftist groups, activists and opponents and the outlawed Communist Party and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NEP) guerrilla.

Fight of ideas

“What would be the point of allowing them to continue if they cannot help us? We do not advocate mass destruction or massacres. It is a struggle of ideas & rdquor ;, the president said on Monday, a few words that suggest his involvement or knowledge about creation of that propaganda network.

“They cannot forbid me or prevent defend government objectives“added Duterte, who accused the social network of” supporting the left “and” promoting the cause of the rebellion. “

Facebook also removed another network of Chinese origin that published content in support of the president and his daughter’s possible presidential race Sara Duterte, current mayor of Davao, in addition to praising the close relationship between the Philippines and China.

The Army involved

From the Armed forces declared that none of the closed pages correspond to their official accounts, although they admitted that the names of two Army captains linked to that network were assigned to a group in charge of managing the image of the military on social networks and civic relations. military.

Two days after the shutdown, the head of Facebook in the Philippines, Clare Amador, met in Manila with the head of the Armed Forces, General Gibert Gapay, to discuss ways of cooperation in common objectives, “such as the fight against the drug traffic, child exploitation and terrorism “, without undermining” freedom of expression “.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Monday that administration supporters will find other means to express their support despite the closure of those pages on Facebook, which has become a virtual battleground of fake news and misinformation in the Philippines, the country that spends the most time connected to this social network.

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