Privacy body demands explanation from Facebook over 'inauthentic' accounts removal


Posted at Sep 24 2020 12:15 PM

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MANILA - The National Privacy Commission said Thursday it would demand an explanation from Facebook following the removal of accounts alleged linked to the military and police and others based in China.

The privacy body will write to the social media giant and meet with its Philippine representatives as it would like to know Facebook's process and measures in protecting its users data, NPC commissioner Raymund Liboro said.

"Hihikayatin natin sila at idedemand natin sa kanila na ano ba 'yung appropriate security measures na ginagawa nila. 'Yun naman po ang tinatakda ng Data Privacy Act, yung appropriate, sapat na pamamaraaan," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We will urge and demand from them what appropriate security measures they are doing. That's stated in the Data Privacy Act.)

"Ang tanong are they doing enough? Sapat ba ng ginagawa ng Facebook para masawata itong mga ganito kasi nagbukas ito ng panibagong usapin ng maaaring pangingialam. 'Yan po ay kailangan natin at subaybayan ang ganitong pangyayari."

(The question is are they doing enough to thwart these accounts? Because this opens a discussion on possible interference. That's what we need to observe.)

The privacy body would also like to know if the removal of the Facebook accounts was connected to the surge of fake profiles in June, Liboro said.

"Gusto namin makita ang ugnayan ng dalawa. Gusto namin malaman may kaugnayan ba ito kasi nagre-raise ng concern itong bagay na kanilang ginawa kahapon," he said.

(We want to see the connection between the two. We want to know if they are connect because what they did yesterday raises concern.)

"Si Mark Zuckerberg nangako 'yan sa Cambridge Analytica na responsibilidad nilang pangalagaan ang data ng kanilang users at kung di daw nila magagawa 'yun ay wala raw silang karapatang magsilbi. Sinsingil lang natin sila dito."

(Mark Zuckerberg promised during the Cambridge Analytica issue that Facebook has a responsibility to protects the data of its users and if they can't do it they have no right to operate. We're just checking if they make good on their word.)


Facebook earlier said it has removed two networks, one from the Philippines and another from China, for violating its policies on coordinated inauthentic behavior. In the case of the removed Philippine network, Facebook said it had links to the Philippine military or Philippine police.

Facebook's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said one network was focused on local news events, domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, the anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and the opposition, criticism of the Communist party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Facebook said the alleged violations included using fake accounts to evade enforcement and representing themselves as a different person to "amplify" their contents, among others.

The second network, which originated in China, "focused primarily on the Philippines and Southeast Asia more broadly", Facebook said in a statement. 

"In Southeast Asia where this network focused most of its activity, they posted in Chinese, Filipino and English about global news and current events including Beijing’s interests in the South China Sea; Hong Kong; content supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and Sarah Duterte’s potential run in the 2022 Presidential election; criticism of Rappler, an independent news organization in the Philippines; issues relevant to the overseas Filipino workers; and praise and some criticism of China," Facebook said.

"We found this network as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals in the Fujian province of China," it added.