Philippines' Duterte blasts Facebook after military, police pages taken down

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte criticised Facebook Inc for taking down accounts supposedly linked to the military and police, and questioned if it should continue operations in one of its biggest markets in Asia.

Mr Duterte said the social media giant should not bar pages critical of the Communist insurgency, saying it’s part of the government’s advocacy to protect the people.

He sought talks with Facebook officials to address the issue.

“Facebook, listen to me. We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also,” Mr Duterte said in a televised address late Monday (Sept 28).

“If government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is your purpose here in my country?”

Facebook declined to comment.

Facebook and other social media sites have come under greater scrutiny in recent years for how they handle disinformation and hate speech, with executives pledging vigilance before the US Congress in June.

Facebook on Sept 23 said it removed networks originating in China and Philippines for violating policies against coordinated inauthentic behaviour, with fake accounts a central part of their operations.

It removed 57 accounts, 31 pages and 20 Instagram accounts originating in the Philippines, and its investigation found links to Philippine military and police.

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