Duterte Questions Letting Facebook Stay After Accounts Shut
In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, gestures as he meets members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines late Monday Sept. 28, 2020. Only one southern Philippine province and its war-battered capital will be placed under a mild lockdown and the rest of the country will be put under more relaxed quarantine restrictions next month to boost the battered economy despite the country having the most number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia. (Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
President Rodrigo Duterte questioned why he should allow Facebook to continue operating in the Philippines after the social media giant removed accounts he said was backed his governments interests, including fighting insurgents.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: September 29, 2020, 12:45 IST
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MANILA, Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte questioned why he should allow Facebook to continue operating in the Philippines after the social media giant removed accounts he said was backed his governments interests, including fighting insurgents.
Facebook said last week it had removed a Philippine network of fake accounts whose operators tried to conceal their identities and used coordinated inauthentic behavior to mislead people.
Duterte did not specify which Facebook accounts he meant. He said he had not thought of specific steps to take on the issue, though he sought a meeting with the American company in his rambling, televised remarks Monday night on a range of topics.
You know, Facebook, insurgency is about overturning government, Duterte said. What would be the point of allowing you to continue if you cannot help us?
If you cannot help me protect government interest, then let us talk. We may or we may not find the solution. If we cannot, then Im sorry, Duterte said.
Facebook said in its announcement last week that its investigation into the fake, misleading content found links to Philippine military and Philippine police behind them.
The Philippine military and police, however, said not one of their official Facebook pages and accounts were removed.
Military chief of staff Gilbert Gapay said an account of a military-backed private group called Hands Off Our Children, which campaigns against the recruitment of students and children by communist guerrillas, was removed, and he asked that the account be reinstated.
Their grievances are legitimate, and their calls urgent, Gapay said, adding that the arbitrary shutdown of the account undermined the efforts of a group of parents, who were raising awareness on the vulnerability of children at the hands of communist front organizations.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte was among those opposed to Facebooks shutdown of the account of the group, which campaigns against the recruitment of children as combatants.
Critics have separately accused Dutertes camp of covertly maintaining fake social media accounts to show support to the president and undermine his critics in a country with one of the largest numbers of Facebook users in Asia. Duterte allies have denied the allegations.
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