Facebook bans Twinmark Media, 220 pages for 'misrepresentation,' spam

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2019 01:33 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2019 05:54 PM

MANILA - Facebook has banned digital marketing group Twinmark Media Enterprises and its subsidiaries from the social media platform for repeatedly violating its misrepresentation and spam policies and exhibiting “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

A total of 220 Facebook pages, 73 Facebook accounts and 29 Instagram accounts affiliated with Twinmark Media were taken down early Friday, said Facebook’s head of cyber security Nathaniel Gleicher who is based in Menlo Park.

Twinmark Media was also leading users to ad farms and was selling access to Facebook pages, he said. 

About 43 million accounts followed at least one of the pages affiliated with Twinmark Media, Facebook Philippines said.

“This organization has been selling access to Facebook pages to artificially increase distribution and to generate profit,” Gleicher told Philippine media through a video conference.

The organization used “fake accounts and deceptive techniques to deceive people, where the content is coming from and the people behind those content,” he added.

No authorized personnel of Twinmark Media can attend to the inquiries of ABS-CBN News, said a representative who answered calls to its listed office number. 

Twinmark's official page is also down as of 4:00 p.m.

Some of the pages taken down were Trending Topics PH, The Filipino Insights, Daily News PH, Filipino Channel Online, and Gorgeous Me, Facebook Philippines said. 

Gleicher said the pages were taken down based on violations and not based on the contents. There is a separate process for content violations, he said. 

“It doesn’t matter who the organization. It doesn’t matter why they’re doing it. What matters is the behavior in the platform,” he said.

Asked whether the takedown was connected to the upcoming mid-term elections, Gleicher said it was about addressing “violating behaviors” found on the platform. 

“We are continuously working to uncover this kind of abuse and we know that the people behind it, whether economically or politically motivated, will continue to evolve their tactics,” he said. 

There were major takedowns all over the world in 2018, including those in US, Brazil, Belgium, Mexico, and Myanmar, he said. 

Gleicher said Facebook has spoken to the Department of Information and Communications Technology but it won’t suggest any further action towards the banned organization.

In October, Facebook removed 95 pages and 39 accounts for spam and authenticity behaviors.