CHECKING THE FACT-CHECKERSFacebook and its fact-checkers suppressing Filipinos’ freedom of expression

CHECKING THE FACT-CHECKERS
Facebook and its fact-checkers suppressing Filipinos’ freedom of expression

Fact-Check: Facebook and its Fact-Checkers are oppressing Filipinos’ democracy

Facebook committed a wide-scale stunt recently when it took down posts of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), a state-controlled news outlet. The Maharlika TV Fact-Check team has been taking notes of the flagging of posts and accounts done by Facebook on minor media news outlets, political subject-matter experts, ordinary citizens, official national security personalities, and recently, the spokesperson and chief-of-staff of the presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Atty. Vic Rodriguez.

This is a subject for real fact-checking because it concerns the right of Filipinos to free speech but more than that, national security matters that need to be addressed.

Are Facebook and its Fact-Checkers oppressing Filipinos’ democracy?

Rating: True, Facebook and its Fact-Checkers are suppressing the Filipino people’s right to free expression and democracy.

What started as cherry-picking of posts that are exposing the yellows, has now become a cluster of online freedom of speech suspensions.

It was already alarming enough when Facebook, on April 14, 2022, flagged down National Security Adviser Hermo Esperon’s post on Facebook that stated:

“In ending insurgency, the Filipinos must unite against armed struggle and against all organizations, aboveground and underground, that support the New People’s Army, including Communist Party (CPP) members who have infiltrated the Congress through the party-list system. As National Security Adviser, it is my duty to inform the people who they are.”

PNA on Sunday, April 24, 2022, had a number of its Facebook posts taken down for “violating its community standards on cybersecurity” including a now-removed post of PNA about the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and a post telling and celebrating the oldest living Filipino at 124 years old, which is rather incomprehensible how the latter had possibly violated Facebook’s so-called community standards.

On the same day, Maharlika TV’s FB posts were also restricted (but are now restored) for allegedly violating the community guidelines. Here are the posts:

  1. False: Abubakar Mangelen, who claims to be the National Chairman of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), endorses Isko Domagoso for president.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=345934904223405&set=a.305880764895486

  1. True: Presidential frontrunner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., in an ambush interview, said that the Marawi rehabilitation is being completed by the incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=347807610702801&set=a.305880764895486

  1. True: Leni at Kiko maaari nga ba ma-diskwalipika dahil sa “foreign funding”?

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=349071207243108&set=a.305880764895486

  1. True: Leni Robredo buys votes through relief efforts

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=353520306798198&set=a.305880764895486

  1. False: ABS-CBN reports, “Nakuhanan ng ABS-CBN News sa isang barangay ang pila ng mga dumalo sa campaign rally ng Uniteam sa Tarlac City. Ayon sa mga residente, bigayan umano ito ng pera para sa mga sumama sa rally.”

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=349763050507257&set=a.305880764895486

  1. Where the story is, Rappler is always there to repost it, apparently for its own political agenda.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=352223770261185&set=a.305880764895486

  1. Rappler: “Rappler to Marcos camp: Stop harassing journalists”

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=359714609512101&set=a.305880764895486

On April 26, 2022, the Facebook account of Atty. Vic Rodriguez of the Marcos camp was suspended with a threat of permanent removal. It was then later retrieved from suspension apparently still without a reasonable answer from the Facebook team.

On the same day, April 26, 2022, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. wrote a letter addressed to Facebook. Here’s an excerpt of the letter:

“I join the concern of the government agencies and mass media organizations about the effects of the abovementioned incidents on the performance of official functions and their implications on national security, sovereignty, and fundamental freedoms.

“I appreciate any information and explanation that your office may extend on this matter.”

To Facebook and the suppressors of the voices of Filipinos, here’s an excerpt that the Maharlika TV reiterates from Atty. Rodriguez’ official statement in response to FB’s suspension of his account:

“Filipinos may be patient and extremely tolerant as a people, and we may be broken down to our knees but we keep on standing; we can be threatened with a thousand deaths but we persist to exist; and we can be hurt to the hilt but we can never be silenced.

Those who wish ill of us can shove us into the darkest dark for all they want, but even darkness has eyes and we shall see through the deceptions, the oppressions, the lies and the maneuverings.”

Summary:

  1. April 14, 2022 – Facebook flagged a post of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.
  2. April 24, 2022 – Facebook took down and restricted posts of the Philippine News Agency, a state-controlled news outlet.
  3. April 24, 2022 – Maharlika TV’s FB posts were also restricted (but are now restored) for allegedly violating the community guidelines. The posts are boldly stating facts and exposing the lies and deceits of the yellows.
  4. April 26, 2022 – The Facebook account of Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Chief-of-Staff and Spokesperson of Marcos Jr., was suspended and threatened with permanent removal.

Resources links:

National Security Adviser Hermo Esperon’s Facebook post that FB flagged:

Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported a now-removed post on their Facebook regarding Facebook (Meta)’s multiple flagging of government media agencies:

Facebook took down a PNA post on a story on the life of 124-year-old Francisca Montes Susano:

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=376061957903598&id=100064993891753&m_entstream_source=timeline

Maharlika TV Fact-Check posts that were taken down by Facebook but are now up again:

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=345934904223405&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=347807610702801&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=349071207243108&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=353520306798198&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=349763050507257&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=352223770261185&set=a.305880764895486

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=359714609512101&set=a.305880764895486

Facebook account of Spokesperson and Chief of Staff of presidential frontrunner Marcos Jr., Atty. Vic Rodriguez got suspended on April 25, 2022.
https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=523136445834761&set=a.264836311664777

Atty. Vic Rodriguez statement on Facebook suspension.
https://www.facebook.com/attyvicrodriguez/photos/a.114747917812531/131336976153625/

Office of Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. letter to Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=379911610837925&set=a.225352872960467

Fact-check by: Juana Adlaw

“WE FACT CHECK THE FACT-CHECKERS WHEN THEY FUCK UP.”

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(ai/mtvn)

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